The water transfer project from Yass to Murrumbateman was officially opened on Friday morning at the Morton Pump Station in Yass.

The project, which has a total cost of $14.27 million, received a $6.1 million grant from the Federal Government in October 2016, a $3.735 million grant from NSW Government in December 2016, a $213,248 low cost loan from NSW Government, and a $4.22 million contribution from Yass Valley Council.

After a planning process that officially began in August of 2009, outgoing Mayor Rowena Abbey was thrilled to finally open the project.

“It’s a fantastic thing to actually finally see it finished and knowing that it gives that water security to Murrumbateman and will allow for that growth.”

“There’s a lot of built-up demand there, and it also means that the two regions that we’re focusing on for infrastructure and growth, we’re actually delivering to both Murrumbateman and Yass,” she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said consistent water supply for the growing community of Murrumbateman was a positive step in the right direction.

“17.9 kilometres of pipeline from Yass to Murrumbateman to make sure that the water needs are served in a growing community.”

With Yass water declared undrinkable at times by locals and a boil water alert issued within the last 12 months, the next comment from the Deputy Prime Minister may be harder for Murrumbateman residents to swallow.

“The people of Murrumbateman deserve the same water quality as anyone else right around the country and of course especially when you’ve got a growing community and an additional demand on the water supply, to have the consistency of the water quality, to have indeed the volume of water that you need for a growing community,” McCormack said.

State Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman, said that whilst fixing some of the consistent issues with water remains a priority, the drought of recent times has reinforced the State Government’s commitment to water supply and security as the priority, particularly in regional communities.

“That’s what I’m very impressed with is the focus on water security, obviously going through the drought we did recently, we need to do the work on the ground to make sure our communities are secure with their water.”

“Clearly, the election commitment for seeing a new water treatment plant is well and truly underway; I think they’re up to peer review at the moment, so it’ll be great to see that finalised and works commenced in regards to making sure that treatment plant is completed.”

“With a growing community as it is and plans by the council to see that these communities are growing, we need to make sure we have the right amount of water to be able to service these communities and to see that growth,” she said.

It was Rowena Abbey’s view that Yass water may not be the answer long term, with bringing water from Canberra considered a real possibility.

“I think the reality is for a long-term strategic plan, that you’re probably talking water from Canberra, from Hall down the Barton Highway to Murrumbateman and then onto Yass,” she said.

Regardless of the new pipeline, water remains a major issue in the Yass Valley and will undoubtedly be a significant talking point come Council elections in September.

Max O’Driscoll