$9 million Malpas pipeline back-up plan for Guyra

WATER WISE: Council candidate Simon Murray wants to know the figures, but suspects the Maplas pipeline will have significant ongoing costs to pump water up the hill to Guyra. Photo: Rachel Baxter.
WATER WISE: Council candidate Simon Murray wants to know the figures, but suspects the Maplas pipeline will have significant ongoing costs to pump water up the hill to Guyra. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

Is a $9 million back-up plan the best way to deal with Guyra’s water security crisis?

Local MP Adam Marshall launched a petition this week to support a pipeline from Malpas Dam to Guyra.

Armidale Regional Council said the new system would only be used in desperate times.

“The pipeline will only ever be a drought emergency back-up,” a Council spokeswoman told The Express on Thursday. 

“It will only be used if Guyra requires extra water.”

The news comes off the back of a new report prepared by Council which reveals the town’s water use is almost double its capacity.

The plan found in the past 10 years annual demand has been approximately 423 mega litres, but “safe yield” has been estimated to only be 277.

But Council candidate Simon Murray said pumping water up the hill would present significant ongoing electricity costs.

“The ongoing power requirement costs are going to be huge,” he said.

“The running costs would be significant with the Malpas option compared to the Guyra water supply – but I haven’t seen any figures.”

Mr Murray said the other option was to raise the Guyra Dam wall.

“The catchment capacity is ample … and the wall was always designed so that it could be raised,” he said.

However, the Council’s plan found the Malpas pipeline option would be significantly more cost effective to construct.

Mr Marshall met with Deputy Premier John Barilaro last week to present ARC’s plan and push the project forward.

“The main thing I need now … to secure the $9 million that would be required to construct that pipeline is a strong sign of community support,” Mr Marshall said.

“I really urge members of the Guyra community to sign [the petition] to show the government they are right behind this project.

“This is to address significant water shortage and water quality issues that the community has been experiencing for the last few years.

“At the same time it’s been experiencing huge growth in terms of the tomato farm and residential growth.”

Mr Marshall said when the water supply drops low, so does the quality.

Local business owner Dave Mills said such a resource was important to secure both the future of the local community and the future of industry in Guyra.

“We’ve all tasted the dirty water in the past,” Mr Mills said after Monday’s petition announcement.

“Such a precious resource is so important for the future of our town and also the future of local industry.

“Industry will provide job opportunities of all levels to drive our town.”