Water body remains positive Lake Rowlands work will be carried out

Lake Rowlands.
Lake Rowlands.

Central Tablelands Water (CTW) general manager Gavin Rhodes remains positive the NSW State Government will proceed with the Lake Rowlands augmentation project.

Late last year the NSW Government committed $1 million of funding for the completion of a feasibility study for the lake's extension.

The funding was part of the government's emergency response to the drought in regional NSW.

After rain at the end of July filled the lake some CTW councillors, at the organisation's August meeting, expressed concerns the project may be delayed.

"At this stage we're just at a hold point waiting for DPIE Water, in conjunction with Water NSW, to complete modelling for the Lake Rowlands to Carcoar Dam pipeline," Mr Rhodes said.

Originally a hold point for the project was supposed to last two weeks.

Mr Rhodes said this had now been extended to between six and eight weeks but he hopes to know more by the end of October.

"There is support for Lake Rowlands, (the State Government) know that it is vital," he said.

"Once the catchment was wet it was amazing how quickly it picked up, we've been emphasising that message.

"The project just makes sense."

Grant funding for the augmentation was conditional on a two staged approach.

CTW has completed the first stage which consisted of a feasibility study investigation of four options.

  • Option 1 - raising the existing dam wall by 2.2m (8GL);
  • Option 2 - raising the existing dam wall by approximately 5m (Ultimate Design Height 10.5GL);
  • Option 3 - construction of a new dam 2.5km downstream of existing wall (15GL), and
  • Option 4 - construction of a new dam 2.5km downstream of existing wall (26GL).

CTW's preferred option is to raise the height of the Lake's wall or build a bigger dam downstream.

"We believe it's a good solution not only for our existing consumers but the region," Mr Rhodes said.

"It's a great catchment, we know there will be environmental issues but increasing the capacity will allow us to do more releases and more consistent releases.

"It will also allow us to increase industry and growth in the region.

"We're still working with DPIE Water."

The timetable for the Lake Rowlands project aligns with the final business case currently being undertaken by WaterNSW linking Lake Rowlands with Carcoar Dam.

"We met last week and they are still reviewing our business case while completing modelling for the Lake Rowlands to Carcoar pipeline before determining the best option," Mr Rhodes said.

"The Minister's office has told us they are still keen on doing something."

CTW supplies water to around 15,000 consumers in 14 towns and villages including Blayney, Cudal, Mandurama, Canowindra, Eugowra, Millthorpe, Carcoar, Grenfell, Manildra, Cargo, Lyndhurst, Quandialla, Woodstock, Gooloogong and Cowra Shire Council rural's and rural properties on Council Trunk Mains.

At the Lake's current capacity CTW hasn't been able to capture around 10 gigalitres of water which has spilled over the Lake's wall since the end of July.

Lake Rowlands currently has a capacity of around 4.5 gigs with CTW using less than 2 gigalitres of water each year to supply consumers in on its system, supplemented by a system of bores near Gooloogong.

"That's three to four years worth of water that we haven't been able to capture," Mr Rhodes said of the water that has gone over the Lake's spillway.

Cr Paul Best, Weddin Shire's delegate to CTW, believes remaining positive is the best course.

"You just have to keep positive, we know it's a great project, we know how important it is," he said at the August meeting.

"We have to stay positive and keep pushing the barrow, you have to be positive and keep going in that vein," he said.

Mr Rhodes agreed and told the council "We have to be patient, we've been advocating for 20 years and now have some traction".

"Even though its frustrating you have to be patient, we'll keep pushing.

"Our preferred option is raising existing the wall by 2.2 metres to sure up supply.

"We want to proceed for town water security, we want to move on, (the augmentation) is vital, by raising the dam wall or a new dam downstream

The (Carcoar) pipeline will compliment Lake Rowlands especially when we are talking about securing town water.

"Our messaging has been consistent all the way through.

"I know we're biased towards the project but it just makes sense," Mr Rhodes said.