Hopes NSW budget will bring wave of projects for Rous
THE first licensed recycled water plant in NSW could be housed on the Northern Rivers.
The NSW Government has been approached for funding to develop the project at Perradenya Estate - a 70-hectare estate near Lismore, owned by Rous County Council.
Keith Williams, recently re-elected chair of Rous County Council, confirmed the water agency has asked for the funding required.
"We have asked," he said. "We have met with estate and federal government people, asking for that money."
"We have asked for a $10-million project, to get to a point where the plant could be licenced. To build a plant and then operate it for a few years.
"It's actually about providing a place in the long term for training, so SCU can then bring water engineers from around the state to show them a working recycled water plan."
The Rous County Council chair and Ballina councillor was hopeful that there may be some announcements in the NSW Budget.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced the 2020-21 NSW Budget will be handed down on Tuesday, November 17.
Mr Williams said Rous had also requested $30 million for the upgrade of Marom Creek.
The second stage would involve increasing both Rous and Ballina Shire Council's existing groundwater bore network in the Alstonville/Wollongbar area, and construction of a pipeline to Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant.
"Rous is talking about going into a deeper aquifer, so we are not going to be sharing the aquifer with all the farms. And there will be more water available for agriculture," he said.
"If we could then upgrade the Ballina and Lennox treatment plants, that could provide a lot of water for Ballina and potentially Byron as well.
"If we can upgrade Lismore, that could service Lismore and Richmond Valley."
Mr Williams said these projects are very important for Rous' Water Future 2060 plan.
"There is actually very little that separates what Rous is trying to do from the things that the Water Alliance is talking about, apart from the issue whether a dam should still be an option," he explained.
"Their view is clearly that no, it shouldn't be an option, and my response would be, well, if all options are on the table, we should still be talking about (the dam) too.
"Nobody wants to rush getting an approval.
"My personal preference would be to have recycled water all over the area, but until that is possible, we cannot remove any options from the table and continue talking to our community."