Work has now begun on one of the largest water infrastructure projects in NSW - the Parkes-Peak Hill Water Supply Project.
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The project will more than double Parkes' current transfer capacity from the Lachlan River and bore fields.
It includes 39 kilometres of new pipelines - a $38 million job, two new pump stations, an upgraded Lachlan River pump station, a new pre-treatment plant at Eugowra Road and a new raw water storage lagoon at the Parkes Water Treatment Plant in Webb Street.
The $61.7 million project will deliver a suite of water infrastructure upgrades to safeguard water supply and boost drought resilience, funded in partnership between the Australian Government ($11 million), the NSW Government ($22 million) and Parkes Shire Council.
It's all planned to be completed in 2025, with council going out to tender in September this year and major construction on the pipeline expected to get underway from around November.
NSW Water Minister Rose Jackson was in Parkes on Tuesday for the 2023 Local Government NSW Water Management Conference, which the town was chosen to host from June 26 to 28.
It was an exciting opportunity for the shire, allowing Parkes to exhibit its water supply infrastructure to world-class industry stakeholders from across the world, who will together explore practical solutions to water and sewerage management.
Ms Jackson took the opportunity to talk with council staff and councillors about the big project ahead for the shire and region, meeting them at the Parkes Water Treatment Plant which is only five years old.
"This is one of the largest investments in water infrastructure in the Central West region this century and it's great to see that work is underway to deliver a stronger and more resilient water network for Parkes and Peak Hill," Ms Jackson said.
"We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to shore-up water security for the community, especially during dry periods. Doubling Parkes' current transfer capacity from the Lachlan River and bore fields... is a major win for the community as it will secure better access to safe, clean drinking water.
"Parkes Shire Council has been investing in projects like this for a while. The Central West is going off... It's going from strength to strength.
"Water security is critical."
Mayor Ken Keith OAM said the project will help the region grow and thrive, adding that it will benefit Forbes just as much as it will Parkes.
"We want to welcome more tourists and residents into Parkes Shire and this project is a key part of our long-term vision," he said.
"We need to ensure a reliable supply of top-quality water for our residents and local businesses which will underpin our population and economic growth."
Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek said the Albanese Labor Government knows how important water security and availability is for economic growth and building resilient communities.
"This is especially true in our regions as we continue to face increasingly uncertain climate conditions," she said.
"That's why we're investing in critical water infrastructure project across the nation so central western communities such as Parkes and Peak Hill can benefit from increased water security and climate resilience both now and into the future."
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