FAQ Water Pipeline Project
Project Overview Why is there a plan to build a pipeline? Armidale
Regional Council is looking to build a pipeline connecting Malpas
Dam to the Guyra Water Treatment Plant.
This will ensure there is security of water supply to residents and
businesses in Guyra, particularly during times of severe
Why is this pipeline important? The pipeline is critical to ensure
secure water for economic development in the Region. It is also an
important link to secure water during times of severe
Currently there are two dams supplying Guyra with water. These dams
contain 450 million litres combined. During periods of good
rainfall, these dams can adequately supply Guyra’s average yearly
demand of 420 million litres.
In times of severe drought however, these dams fall dangerously
low. The 2014 drought resulted in negative outcomes for our river
systems and for agricultural and horticultural businesses in the
region, with farmers experiencing significant reduction in
productivity and livelihood.
Water supply can be secured by constructing a pipeline which will
connect Malpas Dam with the Guyra Water Treatment Plant.
When and how would the pipeline be used? The pipeline will be
activated to ensure water supply to the residents and businesses of
Severe drought is an extreme event that occurs every 10 to 20
years, but when it happens can be devastating to both the
environment and economic development within the region which can
take years to recover. The last severe drought within the Region
was in 2014, and there is no doubt this will occur again in the
The pipeline would be activated to supply Guyra with potable
(drinkable) water, ensuring residents and businesses are able to
continue their life and work without the devastating consequences
Malpas Dam to Guyra Water Treatment Plant
www.armidaleregional.nsw.gov.au Page 2 of 6
Funding and Costs How will this project benefit the region?
Estimated benefits to the region over 30 years are $32.7M from the
pipeline, from a total cost of $13.6M, which includes construction
plus operation and maintenance. Net financial benefit to the region
is estimated at $19.2M. Additional benefits include:
• Drought security for Guyra;
• Consumer benefits from the growth in consumption in
• Economic value added from the use of the water for irrigated
• Avoiding water restrictions as levels of service improves.
Further work undertaken on the business case completed for Council
through the NSW Office of the Regional Infrastructure Coordinator
has shown the Guyra Pipeline proposal having a Benefit Cost Ratio
(BCR) of 2.8, which means for every dollar invested in the project,
$2.80 will be returned in new economic growth and benefits to the
The project makes good economic sense.
Will this affect council rates, now and in the future? There will
be minimal impact on charges to ratepayers from the operation and
maintenance requirements of the pipeline. Any increases will equate
to the current annual CPI increase in rates and water charges
already in place.
It is envisaged the construction of the pipeline will be 100%
funded by State and Commonwealth Funding. Armidale Regional Council
has applied for funding from NSW State Government and the
Commonwealth for the project.
Detailed estimates outline a total construction cost of $12.8M, to
be funded 50% by the State and 50% by the Commonwealth.
When were the NSW and Federal Funding applications submitted? The
funding application to the NSW State Government was submitted on
1st November 2017, to Infrastructure NSW and to Crown Lands and the
Water Safe and Secure Program. A decision is expected by the end of
The Commonwealth funding application was submitted on 21st
September 2017 to the Department of Agriculture and Water
Resources, with a decision expected in February 2018.
What if the State and/or Commonwealth funding is unsuccessful? The
Council is committed to the success of this project, and will
investigate other funding sources for the capital contribution,
should the applications be unsuccessful.
The evidence presented by experts in the field of water security
pointed to the pipeline as the most effective long term option to
secure the region’s water supply.
This evidence, coupled with overwhelming community and industry
support, ensures the Council is confident the funding applications
will be successful.
Will extra resources be required to operate and maintain the
pipeline? Routine operation and maintenance of the pumping station
and pipeline, including power costs was estimated in business case
at approximately $90,000 per annum.
The pipeline will be administered within the current Council
infrastructure, resources and budget.
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The Pipeline Route Can we see the proposed route on a map? A
graphic depiction of the 19.8km route is available below, and on
the Council Web Page.
Council is currently talking to willing landholders about access to
their properties to shorten the distance of the pipeline. Upon
finalisation of these discussions, the proposed routes via public
and private land will be released for public viewing.
What studies are being done for social, indigenous/cultural sites
and environmental impacts of the pipeline? A desktop environmental
review has been undertaken to identify any significant
environmental issues and this will be
expanded on in the concept design state.
Further detailed environmental assessments considering
environmental and cultural heritage impacts along the pipeline
route will be undertaken. Full results of these studies will be
available on completion.
Can the water be accessed from the pipe by landowners? The pipeline
is a water supply for Guyra and is for emergencies during times of
drought. It will not be available on demand to the community or
The pipeline will ensure there is security of water supply to
residents and businesses in the region during times of severe
drought. It will provide a secure and reliable source of good
quality water during a drought.
www.armidaleregional.nsw.gov.au Page 4 of 6
The Options What other options were looked at? The Council,
supported by a number of the state’s water experts have
investigated potential options to provide water security to the
region. Detailed studies into other options have occurred using NSW
State Government water management benchmarking regulations.
These options include:
• Raising one of the existing dams in Guyra by 3 metres to increase
• Building another dam in Guyra to increase water supply by a
further 500 megalitres
Each of these options were estimated to cost $10M to construct.
Modelling indicated that they are short term solutions and wouldn’t
provide the same level of long term future proofing for the region
as a pipeline linking Malpas Dam and Guyra Water Treatment
Two key documents will be available online viewing and at Council
offices during the community engagement phase.
Construction Why is the Council advertising for Expression of
Interest to construct before funding is confirmed? It is important
to commence the expression of interest process at this stage of the
project to ensure there are no delays, that is “shovel ready’ and
that Council is in a position to deliver this project should
funding be announced.
The evidence presented by experts in the field of water security
pointed to the pipeline as the most effective long-term option to
secure the region’s water supply. This evidence, coupled with
overwhelming community and industry support, ensures the Council is
confident the funding applications will be successful.
What does the pipeline look like? The project will consist of the
construction of an underground 200mm diameter pipeline, or 300mm if
budget feasibility allows, from the new intake at Malpas Dam to the
balance tank at the Guyra Water Treatment Plant. The pipeline will
be laid in a trench about 600mm wide and 1 metre deep.
How long will it take to build? A fully functional pipeline will
take between 12 and 18 months to construct. The following timeline
will be used as a guide for the completion of the project, though
dates could change pending funding approval.
How will it be built? The pipeline will be built in the following
Component Key Requirements
A new pumping station at Malpas Dam to be constructed
A new power supply to the pumping station to be constructed
A pipeline from the new intake at Malpas Dam to the balance tank at
the Guyra Water Treatment Plan 19.8km in length, follows the Malpas
Dam Road and New England Highway to Guyra, along Cameron, Sandon,
Starr, Pearson, Manse, and Prisk Streets and the Guyra-Ebor
Pipeline sized to transfer a maximum of 2.1 ML/day (24.1 L/s). The
pipe is to be sized with a 200mm diameter, or 300mm if budget
Modifications required at the balance tank
Event Start Finish
Prepare detailed design and construct tender specification
Call and review tenders
Review of Environmental Factors
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Will the Council be using local suppliers during construction?
Council strives to support local industry within the Armidale
Regional Council shire on all projects. Therefore, suitable local
suppliers and labour will be considered for the completion of this
Due to the specialist nature of this water sector project and the
expertise required in this field, the most important factor is the
ability of the supplier to provide the product, service and work to
the standard expected, as outlined in the tender
Water Quality Will the pipeline be filled with untreated water
in-between uses? The pipeline would only be operated when water
levels drop in the Guyra Dams to critically low levels. The
pipeline will be flushed between uses, and maintained on a regular
Dam Capacity and Drought Is there enough water to last the whole
region? On average, the annual demand of water for the entire
region is 3400 million litres. Demand is steadily increasing with
population and industry growth.
Malpas Dam is able to store 12,000 million litres and has the
ability to supply the region with water for 18 to 24 months without
Currently, Guyra’s water supply is not reliable by contemporary
standards and levels of service including reliability, volumes and
quality and does not meet the 5/10/10 design rule. The pipeline has
been developed within the context of the need for NSW town water
supplies meeting the official “5/10/10” rule. The key aspects of
the 5/10/10 rule are:
1. Water restrictions are in place for no more than 5% of the
2. Water restrictions occur on average once every 10 years
3. During water restrictions, demand is reduced by 10%
How often will it be used? This is a water supply for Guyra and
will be used on an as required basis particularly in times of
drought. Severe drought is an extreme event that occurs every 10 to
20 years, but when it happens can have a devastating impact on the
environmental and economic development within the region.
At what point during a drought will the pipeline be activated? The
water pipeline will be activated when the water storages of the
region fall to critical levels or when a drought is
A drought is categorised by severe rainfall deficiency, which is
when rainfall is among the lowest 5% of records for region. Severe
drought is an extreme event that occurs every 10 to 20 years.
Does this mean there will be more water for environmental flows
during a drought? Council may be able to consider some release of
waters from the Guyra Dam for environmental flows during
Other It feels like this project has been moving very fast with
little consultation. Why is that? The successful Council merger and
appointment of new Councillors, meant the community consultation
process on this water pipeline project was interrupted.
The opportunities to submit State and Commonwealth funding
applications presented themselves unexpectedly and the Council
acted quickly in the best interests of its ratepayers.
A comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement approach is
currently being adopted and will include numerous opportunities to
be further educated and consulted about the project through pop up
kiosks, community events and online material.
What is happening now on the project? The funding application to
the NSW State Government was submitted on 1st November 2017, with a
decision expected by the end of November 2017. The Commonwealth
Government funding application was submitted on 13th September 2017
and a decision is expected in February 2018.
Once funding is finalised, detailed design of the pipeline will
commence, with a view to appointing contractors to begin
construction by August 2018.
A comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement approach is
currently being adopted, where Councillors and interested parties
are educating, informing and listening to constituents across the
www.armidaleregional.nsw.gov.au Page 6 of 6
Guyra Water supply options
Guyra Dam #2 – raised 3 m
Water restrictions every 5 years
Does not meet secure yield Does not meet secure yield Exceeds