Sections of Golden Pipeline to be gradually replaced with below-ground pipe over 50 years
Essential pipeline upgrades needed to secure safe and reliable long-term water supply for the Goldfields
Extensive plans to preserve CY O'Connor's iconic pipeline heritage and tourism value
Proposal to continue ongoing pipe renewal works over many decades
Supports population and economic growth in the Goldfields and Agricultural regions
Water Minister Dave Kelly today announced that a proposal to gradually remove old sections of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme pipeline over the next 50 years, enabling more efficient operation and maintenance, was open for public consultation.
Essential long-term upgrades to the 118-year-old pipeline, commonly known as the Golden or Goldfields Pipeline, are required to secure safe and reliable water supply for the region into the future, as the above-ground pipe reaches the end of its service life.
Initially proposed in 2018, Water Corporation is seeking long-term approval to carry out the essential upgrades under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as sections of the pipeline are progressively replaced with modern below-ground pipe over a 50-year period.
Extensive lengths of the above-ground pipeline will be retained for heritage, tourism and operational purposes, following planned community consultation.
Since opening in 1903, the majority of the original 566km pipeline - brainchild of Western Australia's first Engineer-in-Chief CY O'Connor - has been replaced, with all the pipework upgraded as part of a continuous cycle of maintenance and renewal.
Originally laid below ground, the pipeline was raised onto concrete blocks in the 1930s, so that leaks could be more readily identified and repaired.
The current above-ground pipeline bisects large tracts of private farmland, which fragments land, makes maintenance of the pipeline more complex and limits the public's ability to access and enjoy the heritage values of the pipeline.
Modern leak detection and materials technologies allow the pipeline to be laid below ground again, with performance, safety and security benefits, while also supporting population and economic growth in the Goldfields and Agricultural regions.
Following the public consultation, there will be further opportunities for public comment under Water Corporation's long-term heritage 'interpretation strategy' for the pipeline.
The proposal is open for public comment until Monday, October 25, 2021. Visit: http://yoursay.watercorporation.com.au/golden-pipeline
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"The McGowan Government and Water Corporation value the rich heritage of CY O'Connor's iconic Golden Pipeline and its significant contribution to the development of Western Australia.
"We are fully committed to preserving and celebrating the pipeline's historical legacy and tourism value.
"Under this proposal, significant sections of the pipeline will still be visible and Water Corporation will engage with the community, both now and in the future, to prioritise areas of above-ground pipe for preservation and ways to reuse the old pipe.
"This proposal seeks to implement a long-term co-ordinated plan to preserve the heritage value of the pipeline for future generations, rather than applying for permission to remove smaller sections of pipe on a piecemeal basis.
"Non-operational pipe degrades when taken out of service. Without this approval, Water Corporation would need to maintain both an operational and decommissioned pipeline into the future, at considerable additional cost to the taxpayer."
Comments attributed to Kalgoorlie MLA Ali Kent:
"While many people, particularly in the regions, understandably feel a strong connection to the Golden Pipeline, the current above-ground pipe is not the original with large sections having already been replaced over the past 118 years.
"The pipework has a finite life and these essential upgrades are necessary to ensure the continued safe and reliable supply of drinking water to the regions, as well as supporting future population and economic growth.
"Lots of the current pipeline will still be visible but re-sinking some sections underground frees up farmland and protects this vital pipeline from traffic collisions, bushfires and vandalism.
"I particularly commend Water Corporation's commitment to preserving sections of old pipeline for heritage and tourism benefit, so we can continue to celebrate CY O'Connor's engineering marvel for many years to come."
Minister's office - 6552 6100