Embankment Drive (site 2) Mt Beauty raw water supply site endorsed
21 June 2023
Following more than two years of community engagement and investigations, North East Water’s board has endorsed Embankment Drive (site 2) as the preferred location to build a new raw water offtake in Mt Beauty.
The Mt Beauty raw water offtake is needed to replace the current ageing infrastructure which is located in a hazardous area at risk of bushfires and rockslides. It is also subject to the historic supply limitations of hydro operations, and poses major access difficulties for repairs and maintenance.
While site 2 was confirmed, the Board agreed to exploring alternatives to the weir which might provide more flexibility for the pump station building to potentially be moved to a less intrusive location on Embankment Drive.
The Board’s decision followed on from an independent review established to provide North East Water with assurance that due diligence was being thoroughly undertaken in the decision-making process prior to committing to a location for the needed infrastructure.
The independent project assurance review, completed by specialist engineering firm SMEC, reviewed North East Water’s technical assessments and projected costs for two sites - Embankment Drive (site 2) and Tailrace (Site 9 multiple options).
These were the two sites shortlisted by the Community and Key Stakeholder Reference group in 2022.
SMEC determined that adequate information was provided to perform the comprehensive review and that a reasonable process was followed to identify and shortlist site options.
The review however suggested that the assessment of Site 2 does not currently demonstrate that a weir is an essential element of the scope for Site 2. An alternative pump station building site could be considered on the other side of Embankment Drive further from the river, if a weir was not required. A review of the site constraints and hydraulics would be required to determine if these alternatives are feasible.
North East Water Managing Director, Jo Murdoch, welcomed the findings from the assurance review and the Board’s decision to ensure the long term water security for the Mt Beauty community.
“It’s been a long journey to this point and I would like to thank the community for providing ongoing feedback to North East Water,” Ms Murdoch said.
“We have listened to the community and do understand that Embankment Drive is a highly valued social and recreational space – especially the river.
“I’m pleased that the next steps will investigate the feasibility of options without the weir which might provide more flexibility for the location of the pump station further away from the river.”
Ms Murdoch welcomed ongoing community involvement in the project as it progresses throughout 2023.
Acting Chair of North East Water, Stephen Brown, was pleased the Board could make an informed decision, supported by an independent assurance review, on the preferred site of Embankment Drive.
“The Board supported taking the necessary time to confirm the preferred site, ensuring options and feedback were thoroughly considered.
“On behalf of the Board, Mr Brown, thanked all staff at North East Water, consultants and the community for their engagement and support to deliver the best long-term solution for the water security of Mt Beauty.
North East Water is now aiming to construct the new infrastructure in 2024, with the next stage of the project to include obtaining the required approvals. In the meantime a temporary emergency raw water pipeline system for Mt Beauty can be rapidly established as a contingency should the town’s existing raw water line fail.