THE NSW Government has taken the next step in the construction of the Dungowan Dam by teaming up with WaterNSW to appoint an engineering and environmental advisor for the project.
Nation-wide construction firm SMEC has been selected to carry out the next stage of works such as geotechnical studies, which are slated to begin in April.
The appointment comes after the state government began preliminary environmental investigations, concept designs and lodged planning documents for the project with the Department of Planning, Environment and Industry.
NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey said the government was pleased to announce the progress of not only Dungowan Dam, but also the raising of the Wyangala Dam wall in the Lachlan Valley and the business case for a dam on the Mole River.
"Local communities across NSW, now more than ever, need projects that will stimulate their economies and provide jobs in the near future to aid in the recovery following the drought and now COVID-19," Mrs Pavey said.
"This week we have appointed the key engineering and environmental advisors for each project at Wyangala, Dungowan and Mole River.
"We are focused on delivering these critical projects to significantly improve future drought resilience and improve water security.
"We expect shovels in the ground by October on these nation-building projects."
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he was delighted to see the project progressing, especially given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
"What we have to do is we have got to continue to push on with projects like these," Mr Anderson told the Leader.
"Just because we are in unprecedented times doesn't mean we can lose focus on what needs to be in place for the future.
"We can't afford to be in the same position as we were recently when it comes to our dam capacity."
Mr Anderson said people needed to be vigilant about their water use, despite recent rainfall.
"At the moment, COVID-19 is dominating the front pages but water is still a major concern," he said.
"Thankfully, we have had some rain lately.
"However, very little has gone into the catchments, so it is crucial we push ahead with this project to ensure our future water supply."
The announcement comes as the final works are being done to complete the Dungowan to Chaffey Dam pipeline project.
"The guys out there have done a fantastic job," Mr Anderson said.
"Our goal was always to have the project complete and operational within the first couple of weeks of April.
"At this stage, that looks to be the case and hopefully we will be able to make an announcement on that later in the week."
WaterNSW will now carry out community engagement works surrounding the project.