Infrastructure Australia has finalised its independent assessment of the business case for the New Dungowan Dam and Pipeline in accordance with the Infrastructure Australia Assessment Framework. The proposal has not been added to the Infrastructure Priority List at this time.
The New Dungowan Dam and Pipeline aims to increase town water supply for Tamworth and maintain water reliability for agricultural production in the Peel Valley. The proposal was developed in response to long periods of drought and water restrictions. At a time in 2019, Tamworth was 12 months away from running out of water from its primary water source, the Chaffey Dam.
The project has a capital cost of more than $1 billion and a benefit cost-ratio of just 0.09. Although it offers sustainability and resilience benefits, our assessment found that similar community benefits could be achieved through a combination of lower cost build and non-build options.
This includes increasing the amount of water from Chaffey Dam that is available for urban use, along with policy changes such as demand management and water use efficiency measures.
We would welcome a revised business case for an investment solution that better aligns to the identified problems and opportunities for providing increased water security to the Tamworth region.
Infrastructure Australia Chair Col Murray declared a conflict of interest in relation to this project and was not present during any discussion or decision-making relating to the business case assessment, in line with Infrastructure Australia’s Conflict of Interest Policy.