The first sod has been turned this week on Phase 2 of the Parkes Recycled Water Scheme.
The ground-breaking ceremony on Monday marks the beginning of construction on the Recycled Water Rising Main, a purpose-built pipeline that will transport high-quality recycled water to irrigate selected public green spaces around Parkes.
Parkes Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM said the Recycled Water Scheme will bring significant benefits to Parkes.
“Parkes is a thriving regional centre, and access to clean, safe, sustainable water is crucial for our long-term viability,” he said.
“NSW is currently suffering through what has been called the worst drought in living memory, and water security in a changing climate is a key issue facing many communities.
“Parkes has the additional challenge of being remote from natural water sources.
“This scheme provides Parkes with an entirely new and entirely local drought-proof water source. It saves water by giving us a second use for the same water, which in turn reduces the pressure on our drinking water supplies.”
The construction of the pipeline is the final step in Parkes’ $100 million water projects.
The new pipeline will carry recycled water to 16 parks, ovals and green spaces in Parkes, including Harrison Oval, Northparkes Oval, Pioneer Oval, Spicer Oval, Keast Park, Woodward Oval, Kelly Reserve, Bushmans Hill, Rotary Arboretum, PAC Park, Davey Park and Armstrong Park.
Cr Keith said it was not only cheaper to produce recycled water than to pump and treat potable water, but the utilising solar systems to power the network meant the new scheme significantly reduced the operational costs of maintaining parks and gardens.
“We are incredibly proud to be delivering such a visionary project that will strengthen our water supply and reduce demand on stressed natural water sources,” he said.
The sod turning ceremony saw the presence of Parkes Shire Council's Director of Infrastructure Andrew Francis, General Manager Kent Boyd, councillors Barbara Newton, Bill Jayett and Neil Westcott, as well as representatives of the project contractor, Leed Engineering and Construction and key project staff.
Wiradjuri elder Robert Clegg performed a Welcome to Country and Banjo the Recycled Water Scheme's mascot was also present.
Cr Keith thanked the Australian Government for partnering with Parkes Shire Council to establish the $20.9m Recycled Water Scheme.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Federal Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack said the facility created an entirely new water source for the town, allowing council to maintain parks and sporting grounds all year round, while reducing the demand on potable water.
“This project will reduce the need to pump water 34 kilometres from Lake Endeavour Dam, and 30 kilometres from the Lachlan River and Lachlan Borefields, saving money and providing substantial energy savings for the Parkes community,” he said.
Construction on the project will progress around the town in staged works.
It is expected to take about 12 months to complete, and there may be intermittent traffic and access disruptions during this time.