The Federal Government will provide up to $195 million to fund stage two of an infrastructure project designed to provide water security for Townsville.
The Haughton Pipeline duplication project involves the construction of a second pipe from Haughton Pump Station to the Ross River Dam to top up dam levels during periods of low rainfall.
Once complete, the pipeline will be capable of supplying 234 ML/day.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the project would ensure Townsville residents have access to a secure water supply into the future.
“Reliable water is something the region needs and deserves, which is why we are investing in this job-creating project for Townsville,” he said.
It is expected the project will create hundreds of new jobs during the construction period, including at the newly reopened Iplex Australia polyethylene plant in Bohle.
Iplex won the contract to supply pipe for stage one, and Iplex Pipelines General Manager Nicol Sumich said reopening the plant had created 14 permanent jobs.
“In reopening the polyethylene plant, Iplex has provided the Townsville community with an ongoing legacy and further opportunities for employment over and above the Haughton Pipeline project,” Sumich said.
It is now up to Townsville City Council (TCC) to decide on the best route for stage two of the project, which will extend the pipe from the Haughton River to Clare Weir.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said there were a number of possible routes for the pipeline.
“We’ve got to assess what the best route is, but I will leave that one to the experts,” she said.
Hill said she was pleased the government had allowed the council to take charge of the project, rather than bringing in a tier one contractor.
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson agreed that it was important TCC had control.
“A key benefit of stage two is that it would provide single ownership for TCC of infrastructure between Burdekin River and Ross River, and would allow the council to make all decisions with no reliance on a third party for its water supply,” he said.
“Water projects such as stage two will provide jobs for Townsville, enhancing business opportunities and potentially increasing investment, while securing the city’s long-term water supply.”
The new pipeline is part of TCC’s three-point water security solution, which also includes installing a recycled water scheme for public spaces and industrial use, and a $10 million water saving program.
As part of the Australian Water Association’s North Queensland Regional Conference, Townsville Water and Waste and BMD have organised a site tour to the Haughton Pipeline on 13 August. If you would like to attend, click here.