Source water quality experts visit Snowy region

Water quality experts from WaterNSW will be in the Snowy region on 17-18 June to explore ways to reduce risks to local source water quality.

Water quality experts from WaterNSW will be in the Snowy region from June 17 to 18, collaborating with Snowy Monaro Regional Council to explore ways to reduce risks to local source water quality.

“One of the big lessons from the most recent drought is the water sector must collaborate more closely to build expertise and provide better access to niche skills,” WaterNSW Executive Manager Strategy and Performance Fiona Smith said.

“Some of those niche but critically important functions include catchment management and better ways to monitor and reduce risks at the source of water used in local town water supplies.

“WaterNSW is a national leader in the water sector, operating most of the large dams in NSW and protecting the health of the drinking water catchment that supplies the more than 5 million people of Greater Sydney.

“This is why our experts are well placed to help identify risks and fast-track improvements to source water quality under the NSW Government’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program (TWRRP), which is an initiative of the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).”

“We’re delighted to have our team on the ground working alongside Snowy Monaro Regional Council on opportunities to enhance the management of multiple water sources interconnected with the Snowy Hydro Scheme,” Fiona said.

“As well as site visits to larger water sources at Lake Jindabyne, Cooma and Lake Eucumbene, our experts will also be familiarising themselves with water sources for the smaller towns of Bredbo, Bombala, Dalgety, Delegate, Nimmitabel and Adaminaby.

“These site visits are the first steps in our partnership with Snowy Monaro Regional Council.”

Why focus on source water quality?

Source water quality is a critical part of the multi-barrier approach to addressing risks to water quality throughout the whole water supply chain, from the raw water source in the catchment, water storage and transfer systems, treatment plants, and delivery systems to customers’ taps.

“The multi-barrier approach recognises that while each barrier may not be able to completely remove or prevent contamination all of the time, they collectively provide greater assurance that the water supply will be safe,” Fiona said.

The TWRRP brings the strengths of major entities in the water sector, like WaterNSW, to local councils, providing extra support to help improve water security, quality, and reliability by enabling them to tap into the skills and knowledge that will best assist them.

“Collaboration is at the heart of the Town Water Risk Reduction Program. We are working hand-in-hand with local water utilities to develop solutions to help local communities lock in a safer, more secure and sustainable water supply,” DCCEEW Director of Local Water Utilities Jane Shepherd said.

“Tapping into the expertise of WaterNSW is an excellent example of how we do this. As managers of some of the biggest dams in the state, they understand the challenges of drought, flooding and water quality better than anyone else.

“This is why we have brought them onboard to provide extra support at the grassroots level to improve how we monitor water source quality and give local water utilities more time to adjust their treatment processes when conditions change.”

WaterNSW has received NSW Government funding under the TWRRP to work with Local Water Utilities (LWUs) on dam safety risk assessments and to help improve source water quality monitoring. Under the program, DCCEEW provides ongoing support and expertise, free of charge, to LWUs to improve water treatment, including training to water operators and funding to LWUs to carry out upgrades to plants.

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