THERE was a certain sense of symmetry in the past week as it was announced that a documentary about the Macquarie River would soon be coming to Bathurst.
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The documentary, Following The Flow, was filmed along the Macquarie in early 2020, just as the longrunning drought was breaking, and aims to tell the story of the river (and those who rely on it or live alongside it) from all angles.
And the symmetry?
The news that the documentary would be shown at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre came just a few days after Bathurst Regional Council announced that it had awarded a construction tender for the city's long-planned stormwater harvesting project.
Like the documentary, the stormwater harvesting scheme had its genesis in the drought that gripped the region until early in 2020, when Chifley Dam fell below 30 per cent and the mighty Burrendong Dam, further along the Macquarie, was down to its last 1.5 per cent.
As opposed to the documentary, though, the stormwater harvesting scheme is still a work in progress.
If there has been a sense of a lack of urgency to get started on the project, it is easily explained: the weather has turned and Bathurst's water troubles have been well and truly left behind for the short term.
Chifley Dam has been so full for so long that the biggest concern has been whether the dam wall should be raised to capture all that runoff, rather than whether water restrictions should be tightened to ration what's left.
But the time to plan for the next drought is when the water is flowing, rather than when it's starting to run out, and for that reason, the signs of progress on the stormwater project must be welcomed.
Council has a local company, Hynash Constructions, that has been charged with the task of the construction and Hynash has an anticipated 12-month timeline for the build (which is set to start in the coming months).
With these pieces in place, Bathurst has a water security project that will (hopefully) be finished well before the good times have a chance to turn bad.
Because it's the "security" part of the "water security" phrase that's important.
A Bathurst that's bigger now than it was at the height of the last drought, and which will be bigger again whenever the next drought rolls around, needs to be secure in its water supply.
That's not a choice. That's a requirement.
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