Engineering

WaterNSW projects to aid in economic recovery post Covid-19

The Dungowan and Mole River Dam projects were fast-tracked to improve water security and flood resilience.

Early investigation works at the project sites

SMEC’s Planning and Development Services team is working with WaterNSW to deliver the Dungowan Dam and Mole River Dam projects in Northern New South Wales (NSW). The team has been successfully navigating the delivery of these geographically remote projects amid Covid-19.

Dungowan Dam includes the replacement of a dam constructed in the 1970s with a larger dam and Mole River Dam is a green-field dam project, said Mr Elliot Hannan, who leads SMEC’s Dams and Hydropower business in Australia and is currently the Project Director for these two projects. These projects, which are jointly funded by the Australian Commonwealth and NSW State Government, are being fast-tracked and will contribute to Australia’s long-term water security in the face of increasing drought frequency, to help deliver secure water supply for agriculture and population growth. 

What is unique, Mr Hannan said, is that most projects in the dam industry are based on upgrades and maintenance of existing dams. “For these two projects, we are in a rare position of working with WaterNSW in designing new dams and being able to enhance the livelihoods of the communities we are serving.  By providing long-term water supply security, these projects enable the regions to sustain future population growth, and support irrigation and agricultural activity.”

With the construction of the Dungowan Pipeline imminent and the Dungowan dam proposed in 2021, they will be significant projects contributing to the post pandemic economic recovery, particularly for rural communities in NSW.

The remote location does provide challenges, he noted, and that the local regions have been “fantastic” in their support of the projects. “Where possible,” he said, “We have looked to actively engage with local suppliers for services such as geotechnical investigations, survey, accommodation and service locating amongst others. There is no shortage of volunteers wanting to spend time at the site to undertake the numerous activities, particularly the biodiversity studies supporting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).” Read more

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