Waste Minister Dave Kelly yesterday announced a proposal to gradually remove and replace old sections of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme pipeline over the next 50 years.
The pipeline was originally completed in 1903, making it 118 years old today, and was internationally regarded as the largest engineering undertaking of its time.
The majority of the original 566 km pipeline has been replaced as part of a continuous cycle of maintenance and renewal.
The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme provided water to early gold diggers and ensured the growth and prosperity of Western Australia, and today it marks an important heritage site for Western Australia.
Minister Kelly proposed essential repairs to the old pipeline to enable more efficient operation and maintenance as well as a safe and reliable water supply, as the above-ground pipe reaches the end of its service life.
The 1903 pipeline was originally laid below ground, but was raised onto concrete blocks in the 1930s so that leaks could be more readily identified and repaired.
Modern leak detection technologies will allow the pipeline to be laid below ground again with added benefits to security and performance.
Water Corporation is seeking long-term approval to carry out 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.
Following public consultation, there will be further opportunities for public comment under Water Corporation’s heritage interpretation strategy.
Minister Kelly said the McGowan Government and Water Corporation are committed to preserving and celebrating the pipeline’s historical legacy.
“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,” Kelly said.
The proposal is open for public comment until Monday 25 October.
For more information visit the Water Corporation website.