BATHURST civil construction firm Eodo is about to start work on a $10 million safety upgrade of Winburndale Dam to secure Bathurst's second major water storage into the future.
Winburndale was built in the 1930s and the untreated water it supplies to the Bathurst region is currently used to irrigate council-owned playing fields and parks.
However, as the drought rolls on and the water level at the region's primary water storage, Ben Chifley Dam, continues falling towards 40 per cent, talks are under way to divert water from Winburndale through the water filtration plant to make it suitable for drinking and general household use.
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But that proposal is unrelated to the current work which will see Eodo employ modern engineering strategies to secure the ageing dam wall to better secure the water held in storage at Winburndale.
The project is jointly funded by the state government and Bathurst Regional Council. NSW Publc Works was awarded the contract to carry out the work and has engaged Eodo to complete the job.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole said the upgrade work would not increase the capacity of Winburndale Dam (currently 1700 megalitres compared to Chifley Dam's 30,000 megalitres), but it would strengthen the dam wall and include work on the pipes around the dam.
Location of Winburndale Dam ...
He said council and the government were also considering a number of other options to help drought-proof the Bathurst region.
"With the dry times that we're all experiencing it clearly shows that water is something that we need to look after," Mr Toole said.
"We're continuing to work with Bathurst Regional Council on other water strategies but you must look after what you already have.
"The worst thing would be to see that wall collapse and lose all that water that currently sits behind the Winburndale Dam.
"The strengthening of the dam wall is going to secure it here, for this city, for many years and decades to come."
Mr Toole said other water-saving strategies currently under consideration included new pipelines and weirs, and looking at existing dam walls.
The worst thing would be to see that wall collapse and lose all that water that currently sits behind the Winburndale Dam.Bathurst MP Paul Toole
Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger said the Winburndale upgrade had been on council's agenda for several years.
"We've been in discussion with the state government and we thank them immensely for their contribution," he said.
"It's an almost $10 million project to make this dam wall one of the safest in the state."
Eodo project manager Dean Windsor said the wall project would take about 12 months to complete, weather permitting.
About 20 local people will be employed to work on the project.