Gloucester Water Upgrade

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We're developing plans to improve the reliability of Gloucester's town water supply, fixing historical issues with the system.

The drought we have just experienced in NSW was one of the worst on record and resulted in us having to truck in water (from our supplies at Tea Gardens) for the Gloucester community when the Barrington River stopped running. The Gloucester community worked alongside us to reduce their water use until rain was received.

The need to improve water security has been something we have been working towards for a number of years, with investigations ramping up in recent times in response to the climatic conditions experienced.

There are several historical problems and challenges with the water supply system in Gloucester.

  • The existing treated water reservoirs in the town are in poor condition and need to be replaced and upgraded.
  • Due to the location and height of the existing reservoirs, it’s not possible to always provide adequate pressure to parts of Gloucester and Barrington without the use of pressure booster pump stations.
  • During power outages, some areas of town receive inadequate pressure to maintain adequate supply.
  • Gloucester’s water supply is dependent on flows from the Barrington River, and the system does not have capacity to store water should the river cease flowing. There is a lack of off-river raw water storage prior to water treatment. Currently the raw water is extracted from the Barrington River and pumped directly to the Gloucester Water Treatment Plant. 

The first stage of the project includes developing detailed plans to improve the town water supply network to address two main issues - ensuring more reliable water pressure across the supply system, especially during power outages and replacement of aging infrastructure in poor condition. This is a major milestone for the project. Detailed design is almost completed and the next step is to seek tenders before construction work can physically begin in 2021. Check the expected timeline for the project on this page.

Consultants have completed the detailed designs, including plans for the construction of one new 7 megalitre ground-level service reservoir and one new elevated service reservoir, located within the existing infrastructure zone at the Cemetery Road site. This makes efficient use of existing land and infrastructure including pipeline assets, access roads and electricity. There will also be no need to acquire new land.

The first stage of the project will also include the construction of a 7km new upsized water main supplying water from the Gloucester Water Treatment Plant to the new reservoirs as well as modifications to some of the existing town supply mains. View the map here(PDF, 4MB) of the proposed mains.

The new reservoirs will provide some additional storage capacity, while plans are developed for a longer term project to build and commission a larger, off-stream storage solution.

The Grey-crowned Babbler is listed as vulnerable to extinction in New South Wales under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. A local population of this species uses land and habitat adjoining the proposed new reservoir site.

We are committed to minimising the impacts of these important works on the Babbler and other local threatened species.  The protection of the Babblers' habitat around the reservoir site is part of our plan.  This existing vegetation also provides for the screening of the new reservoirs for the visual amenity of nearby residents.

With the detailed design phase now completed, we have assessed the impacts of the project on the community and the local environment.  This is documented within a Review of Environmental Factors. The Review sets out all of the environmental safeguards to be implemented as part of the work.  We have included actions to enhance and protect the Babblers’ habitat within the project.

View the Review of Environmental Factors(PDF, 11MB) here.

A key focus will be on limiting the area of important habitat that is disturbed during construction. We are also proposing to implement a range of other active measures during and after the construction phase, including habitat restoration, new plantings, information signage and ecological fire management of the Reserve.

Once complete, the reservoir project will be low impact on the surrounding environment as it won't generate noise or excessive activity onsite.