Inland Rail partnership to leave water legacy

Inland Rail will deliver enduring water benefits in Gilgandra with an agreement signed today that will see the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) fund four additional bores across the Shire.

Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton welcomed the agreement that will identify a water source for Inland Rail construction while leaving a legacy for locals along the route.

“I’m so pleased to see this project going ahead, having worked closely with Gilgandra Shire Council to ensure the community’s needs are met,” Mr Coulton said.

“As Inland Rail completes the national freight network, it will introduce new markets for growers, producers and manufacturers right across the region – it will also leave legacy water infrastructure to serve the community.

“Once construction of Inland Rail from Narromine to Narrabri is complete, the bores that the ARTC is establishing in the Gilgandra area will be handed to the Gilgandra Shire Council.

“This will provide the community with improved water supply for facilities and offer a reliable source of water for roadworks, as well as firefighting and other emergency service needs.”

Narromine to Narrabri Inland Rail Project Director Duncan Mitchell said ARTC appreciates how precious water is in regional areas.

“Inland Rail already applies a range of sustainable construction practices including using biodegradable polymers in dust management to minimise the amount of water required for construction,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We envisage that this project will increase the water security of the region and further minimise the impact of construction on local water supplies, in response to community feedback.

“The bores will be monitored to manage any effect on neighbouring bores – this project is an example of how Inland Rail is being designed and delivered with the immediate and long-term betterment of communities in mind.”

Acting Mayor of Gilgandra Shire Council Ash Walker said Council has been an advocate for undertaking water investigations early in the construction process to improve outcomes for community stakeholders.

“Finding secure water sources that don’t compete with existing stock and domestic bores has been a recurrent request from landholders,” Cr Walker said.

“This project enables Council to be part of achieving this outcome whilst leaving deep bore infrastructure and reliable water sources as a legacy to our community once construction is complete.

“It is Council’s intention that by having an active involvement in this process, we can play a leading role in communicating the findings to the community and provide opportunities for the community to learn more about the deeper aquifers in our region.

“This water infrastructure will be a positive legacy for our community for generations.”

The arrangement provides for four bores to be sunk into the Pilliga Sandstone and Purlewaugh Sandstone aquifers to a depth between 200 and 280 metres.

The Gilgandra Shire Council will shortly appoint a project manager, to be funded by ARTC, who will lead further planning and development of the bores.

For more information on Inland Rail from Narromine to Narrabri, including details on upcoming community information sessions planned in coming weeks, visit https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/