The first sod has been turned on Phase 2 of Parkes Recycled Water Scheme. The ground-breaking ceremony marks construction commencement for the Recycled Water Rising Main, a purpose-built pipeline that will transport high-quality recycled water to irrigate selected public greenspaces around Parkes.

Parkes Shire Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM said the Recycled Water Scheme will bring significant benefits to the Parkes community. "Parkes is a thriving regional centre, and access to clean, safe, sustainable water is crucial for our long-term viability."

“New South Wales 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," Mayor Ken Keith explained.

“Parkes has the additional challenge of being remote from natural water sources,” Mr Keith added. “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.”

Mayor Ken Keith said that it is not only cheaper to produce recycled water than to pump and treat potable water, but the utilising solar systems to power the network means the new scheme significantly reduces 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,” Cr Keith said.

The ceremony was officiated Mayor Ken Keith alongside Parkes Shire Council's Director of Infrastructure Mr Andrew Francis, and Parkes Shire Council's General Manager, Mr Kent Boyd. Wiradjuri elder Mr Robert Clegg performed a Welcome to Country.

The sod turning was attended by Parkes Shire Councillors, Deputy Mayor Cr Barbara Newton, Cr Bill Jayett and Cr Neil Westcott, as well as representatives of the project contractor, Leed Engineering and Construction and key project staff. Banjo, the Recycled Water Scheme's mascot was also present for the ground-breaking occasion.

Mayor Ken Keith said the investment under the National Stronger Regions Fund demonstrates the Australian Government's commitment to regional communities and 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 “this facility creates an entirely new water source for the town, allowing the 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 25 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.”

Construction on the project will progress around Parkes in staged works. It expected to take approximately 12 months to complete, and there may be intermittent traffic and access disruptions during this time.

Residents are encouraged to check Council’s website and facebook page for on-going construction updates.