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Inquiry committee gives controversial pipeline the nod

THE chairman of the state government’s inquiry into water storage has dismissed alternatives to the Macquarie River pipeline as inadequate.

The Central Western Daily reports the NSW government’s six member inquiry into the adequacy of water storages committee yesterday took a tour of Orange, the township at the centre of the controversial proposal.

Chairman and Nationals member of the NSW Legislative Assembly Rick Colless said a Lake Rowlands solution would not be viable.

“Lake Rowlands is quite low, it’s quite an inefficient storage,” he said.

He believes the Macquarie pipeline solution is the most logical proposal and does not believe approval for the pipeline should be put off until the inquiry makes a report in April next year.

“Certainly I don’t know that a project that is as important as securing water for Orange should be delayed any longer than is possible,” he said.

Colless also does not believe the construction of dams in the region would secure Orange’s water, but does support the raising of Suma Park Dam which he says needs to be raised regardless of water needs due to safety issues.

Colless dismissed concerns from Bathurst residents that a Macquarie pipeline would mean water would be taken from Chifley Dam.

“It’s most unlikely there would ever be water released from Chifley in order to supply Orange,” he said.

“The water would only be pumped when it exceeds 38 megalitres per day which is quite high.”

Colless said he had long been aware of the pipeline proposal and was well briefed regarding community backlash. He disregarded claims water from the pipeline would be used to service mining operations.

“What we heard today was that the actual impact on the flow of the river is going to be minimal and only as a supplementary water supply for Orange itself not for the mines,” he said,

“The Orange City Council already supplies water to the mines, effluent water from the sewerage system, that water has got to go somewhere anyway and that’s going to the mines.”

“So I’ve got to say from what I’ve heard today I’m very comfortable with the proposal of the pipeline.”

Councillor Reg Kidd said he looks forward to reading the inquiry’s comments.

“I look forward to seeing what they base them on,” he said.

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