“Regional water security is a top priority for the NSW Government,” Mr Stoner said.
“With much of the State facing difficult drought conditions, now more than ever we need to be focusing on ways to prepare communities by enhancing our local infrastructure to provide improved water security.
“That is why we are launching Water Security for Regions, a new program offering $40 million worth of funding for infrastructure projects in regional areas that enhance water security.
“This could potentially include storage such as dam augmentation, pipeline and bore works, as well as water efficiency mechanisms,” he said.
Mr Stoner said the NSW Government would provide funding for five high priority projects in regional NSW, subject to final business case approval, including:
- Bourke Shire Council – $2.5m – connect Walken Bore to North Bourke and Bourke town supply systems;
- Central Darling Shire Council – $1m – connect Menindee Road Bore to Wilcannia town water supply;
- Cobar Water Board, Cobar Council and Bogan Shire Council – $10m – pipeline and water storage works to secure Cobar’s water supply;
- Cooma Monaro Council – $5.3m – Nimmatabel Lake Wallace project; and
- Forbes Shire Council – $2m – connect bore to town water supply system.
“These projects have been recommended by the Office of Water based on their level of priority and readiness, and will be subject to normal assessments including environmental approvals – where appropriate,” he said.
Mr Stoner said a targeted process will be opened to determine the allocation of the remaining $20 million in funding for new priority projects.
“Projects will be determined on merit by an independent panel with favourability given to projects that are ready to proceed and involve partnerships with local councils, ROCs and other regional bodies,” Mr Stoner said.
“The final criteria for funding and the eligibility requirements will be determined by the Office of Water, together with Infrastructure NSW, and announced in March 2014,” he said.