Feds give green light to controversial Macquarie pipeline

DESPITE ongoing opposition by recreational fishing groups and environmentalists the  federal government has given the green light for the controversial Macquarie River pipeline project in western NSW.

The government’s approval comes with 13 conditions related to protection of the superb parrot and endangered native fish such as trout cod – see here.

The 39km project is estimated to cost $47m and feature an underground pipe stretching from Long Point on the Macquarie River to the Suma Park Dam at Orange.

The Mayor of Orange City Council, John Davis says the region’s water supply will now be secured.

“We’ve received a positive result as far as Orange is concerned,” he says.

“It’s been three and a half years of intense pressure on this project, which is going to secure water for Orange for the next 30 to 35 years.”

Clr Davis says the conditions will be manageable.

The Orange Ratepayers Association says the decision to approve the pipeline isn’t a good thing for the community.

“There are losers, and I don’t really know if Orange is the winner for this project,” says the Association’s Colin Young.

“From a cost point to the rate payers I think it’s a disaster.

“We need more water storage in Orange; we don’t have adequate storage and that has to be attended,” Mr Young says.

Mr Young says the Association has some concerns about the cost of pumping water.

He says concerns about the pipeline’s flow rate need to be addressed.

“Flow rate in the river is absolutely critical; they raised it from a 38 mega litre flow rate before they could start pumping to 108 mega litres.

“108 mega litres should be the absolute minimum that they’re allowed to pump to, but it should be greater than that.

“It should be put in stone and not be able to be adjusted downwards; that gives a little bit of protection for the ecology of the river,” Mr Young says.

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