Hunter Water's review of its water plan includes looking at potential dam sites

Chichester Dam is currently sitting at 74.3% of its storage level capacity.
Chichester Dam is currently sitting at 74.3% of its storage level capacity.

Hunter Water has identified Upper Chichester and Limeburners Creek east of Clarence Town as potential new dam sites as part of a comprehensive review of the region's long term water plan.

The Lower Hunter Water Plan was released in 2014 after the former state government dropped plans for the Tillegra Dam in 2011.

Hunter Water's Chief Investment Officer Darren Cleary said "all options are actively being investigated", with the review of the plan now at the stage where potential sites for supply and demand will be explored in more detail.

"We're considering potential new sources of water to enhance our existing supplies such as dams, desalination, groundwater and water sharing," he said.

"We'll continue investigating a potential groundwater source below the Tomago Sandbeds and ways to increase our capacity to share water with other regions, including enlarging existing dams outside of our area of operations.

"In addition, we're looking at ways to reduce demand such as stormwater harvesting for irrigation of playing fields, potential recycled water schemes for use on a range of public facilities and in industry, as well as other water conservation programs."

Mr Cleary said Hunter Water had identified a number of potential dam sites for further investigation.

"Aside from continuing to invest in water conservation and leakage reduction, no decisions have been made about which options will be included in the revised Plan.

"It's important we do this work now to understand their technical feasibility, as well as the environmental, social and financial aspects."

Hunter Water has been working with the CSIRO using a spatial mapping tool to shortlist possible dam locations.

"From a list of thousands of potential sites, we've identified two areas for further investigation including one at Upper Chichester, upstream of our existing Chichester Dam, and another at Limeburners Creek."

Hunter Water will also explore increasing the size of the proposed desalination plant at Belmont, as well as a potential site for a plant at Walsh Point at Newcastle.

Mr Cleary said Hunter Water was committed to keeping the community informed about the plan over coming months with forums and information sessions.

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