Niall stands firm

Monday, 9th November, 2015

By Andrew Robertson

The state government has again ruled out using bore water as a permanent supply for Broken Hill.

Water Minister Niall Blair said the government was also “steadfastly committed” to investing up to half a billion dollars to secure the city’s water supply.

Mr Blair was forced to clarify the government’s position on supplying groundwater to the city after comments by his federal counterpart, Barnaby Joyce.

The Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, who was in the city last week, suggested bore water, together with the Menindee Lakes, should be the first option to supply Broken Hill.

A pipeline to the Murray River should only be considered if bore water of a sufficient quality and quantity was not available, he said.  

But Mr Blair was quick to rule out bore water as the sole supply for the city.  

“As confirmed at the town meeting last month, the use of bores is only being considered as one option to supplement ongoing use of the Menindee Lakes as the primary source of water,” a statement from the minister’s office said. 

“This option is still being considered on its merits alongside options for a pipeline from the Murray.

“As stated previously, there is no proposed long term option that would see Broken Hill move to a permanent bore water supply. 

“The NSW Government’s position remains consistent with information provided at the town meeting in October.” 

The October 7 meeting was told that two pipeline options were being considered, along with expanding Stephens Creek reservoir.

A business case and shortlist of options will be submitted to government in mid-November, with the final report and preferred option completed by February.

“To date, DPI (Department of Primary Industries) Water has collated a long list of proposed solutions to the region’s long-term water supply from government agencies, private companies and local stakeholders,” the minister’s office said.

“These options have all been compiled as part of a business case which will be rigorously assessed by Infrastructure NSW and its panel of experts.

“This process will result in a short list of proposals by the end of the year.

“As with any project of this significance, proposals must be assessed by independent experts to ensure the best possible outcomes for the local community.”