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Urgent action

Friday, 6th March, 2015

The Wilcannia Weir on Tuesday (above) and yesterday (below) ... the rising Darling River has lifted the spirits of those who live and work along the Far West’s lifeline. Although the fresh is expected to make its way to the Menindee Lakes, it won’t be enough to quell the urgency surrounding Broken Hill’s water supply. PICTURES: Lynley Rebbeck The Wilcannia Weir on Tuesday (above) and yesterday (below) ... the rising Darling River has lifted the spirits of those who live and work along the Far West’s lifeline. Although the fresh is expected to make its way to the Menindee Lakes, it won’t be enough to quell the urgency surrounding Broken Hill’s water supply. PICTURES: Lynley Rebbeck

By Emily Roberts

 The state’s water authorities are working quickly to secure a contract to start drilling for the region’s emergency water supply.

“For the short term emergency project, we are trying to finalise the contract with the signing this week or next week,” Water NSW spokesman Tony Webber said.

“We hope to be drilling by the week after next,” he said.

“Then there will be water quality testing of the same calibre (that is being done now) with results hopefully by the end of next month.”

Water NSW is managing projects aimed at securing emergency town water supply for Broken Hill, Menindee and Sunset Strip as well as measures to secure water for Lower Darling water users.

The measures are intended to extend the available water supply for Broken Hill until there are substantial inflows into Menindee Lakes, while longer term options are investigated and implemented.

The NSW Office of Water is undertaking ground water investigations as part of securing the town water supply for Broken Hill during times when there is insufficient surface water to meet the town’s needs.

There are three potential sources of ground water being investigated.

“There has been some very preliminary testing with one bore,” Mr Webber said.

“It has given some indication on flow rate and salinity - the salinity feedback was below anticipations.

“This is not water testing but preliminary bore testing.

“From here, there will be a move to more comprehensive quality testing.

“The first bore had to be abandoned due to structural problems.” 

Three bores are now part of investigations into a deep aquifer, known as the “Renmark Group” aquifer, near Menindee. 

Drilling of the third bore is almost complete. The NSW Office of Water will then commence work on two additional bores.

Pump tests will be conducted at all of the test production bores and water quality analysis will be conducted at all of the drilled sites.

“It is positive, it was unfortunate to have a setback with the first bore,” Mr Webber said.

“It is not uncommon to face these challenges with this work.”

There are also tenders for more drilling operations.

“Water NSW will also call tenders for concept design of the Talyawalka flood plains, which is 20 kilometres South of Menindee on the Darling River,” Mr Webber said.

“It is the intention to drill for 13 smaller bores.

“Our work reflects the urgency of the situation and the priority that the NSW Government places on these works.”

The next meeting of the Broken Hill Community Consultative Forum has been rescheduled to March 12, in Broken Hill, with feedback being given on previous suggestions.

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