The Federal Government has announced that Parkes Shire Council will receive $6 million in funding through the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the Round 5 BBRF grant would go towards Stage 1 of the $14,407,487 Lachlan River Water Supply Duplication Project, part of Council’s $61M investment in new water security infrastructure.

“Parkes is a growing community and water supply is vital especially considering the town’s unique location as the only junction of Australia’s north-south and east-west rail corridors.

“The Parkes Special Activation Precinct (SAP) offers fantastic business opportunities and delivers more jobs for the region on the back of the Federal Government’s Inland Rail project. This significant project will deliver the water infrastructure needed to ensure the community can reach its vast potential," said Mr McCormack.

Mayor of Parkes Shire Cr Ken Keith OAM said the funding enables a critical water project that will ensure the town’s water security for many years to come.

“The Federal funding forms part of a multi-funded project to duplicate the pipeline to boost water supply for our growing community. The Federal Government has been a wonderful supporter of the vision of Parkes Shire Council – I thank Mr McCormack for his advocacy supporting our unique community and securing our water future.

"Parkes is uniquely positioned at the centre of Australia’s transport network with strategic opportunities for investment via the Inland Rail, the SAP and the expansion of CMOC-Northparkes Mines (Northparkes), but our growth relies on a secure water supply.

"Council has a long history of working collaboratively with local businesses, state and federal government to plan, deliver and operate complex new water infrastructure within budget and on time. Our integrated water cycle management approach to planning critical new water assets means we consider water infrastructure to meet future demand while fulfilling our obligations as a Council for environmental sustainability, our community’s aspirations, economic growth targets and financial responsibility," added the Mayor.

Collectively, the package of water security projects valued at approximately $61M, will create a new raw water supply network that will almost double Council’s capacity to meet future demand for more raw water. Currently, Council can only supply 6ML of its 12GL water licence entitlement, largely due to the constraints of ageing water infrastructure. Council also conveys water for Northparkes Mines who owns their own water licences and is dependent on access to a secure and sustainable raw water supply.

Northparkes Managing Director Hubert Lehman said, "Northparkes has a longstanding valued relationship with Council, particularly when it comes to our operational water usage. Over the past 12 months, we have been working closely with Council on the Nortparkes Mines' requirements towards a long-term water supply agreement".

The Parkes water security projects include construction and replacement of raw water infrastructure and assets. In total, more than 39 kilometres of new pipeline will move water around the supply network more efficiently based on new and improved pump stations and pre-treatment plants at Eugowra Road and Akuna Road, additional storage capacity of 20ML in the raw water dam, additional bores to sustainably spread the load on the Lachlan aquifer and a direct pipeline route to the Water Treatment Plant.

After treatment, new pipelines will distribute the treated raw water to the benefit of residents and businesses in the Shire. In addition, Parkes is collaborating with neighbouring Shires to create a new CENTROC regional water grid.

This new raw water supply network will be powered sustainably by solar energy to reduce electricity from the grid and limit CO2 emissions, as part of Council’s commitment to introduce renewable energy to support and sustain our environment.