Integrated Water Cycle Management Draft Strategy Report

The Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) process aims to assist Council in finding ways to plan and manage the three main urban water services - water supply, sewerage and storm water to ensure that maximum value is obtained from the water resource and that the impact of water use on the environment is minimised. Council engaged the NSW Department of Commerce to prepare the Nambucca IWCM Strategy Study following on from earlier work they had completed on the IWCM Concept Study.

The original IWCM project was been run in parallel with the pre-construction phase of Council's preferred water supply strategy involving the storing of raw water from an expanded bore field in an off-river storage located on the headwaters of Bowra Creek near Bowraville. The IWCM process provides the means of verifying Council's proposed strategy for securing the water supply for the Nambucca Shire.

The objectives of the IWCM Strategy Study are as follows:

*   Identify and shortlist potential opportunities for managing the water cycle issues at local and regional scales.
*   Developed bundled scenarios on a Shire wide basis and
*   Assist Council and the community to shortlist scenarios using a triple bottom line balanced scorecard assessment process.

In simple terms the IWCM Strategy looks at the way Council is currently utilising its water resources and the future demands that are likely to come about due to population growth. Opportunities to make improvements to the existing methods of operation are identified and assessed in terms of economic, social and environmental benefit that would be derived from their implementation.

The opportunities that are deemed to have sufficient merit following the triple bottom line assessment are short listed for attention. The short listed opportunities are then bundled into scenarios that solve all of the identified issues utilising different levels of integration between the urban water services.

Four shire wide scenarios were developed ranging from the traditional approach, where integration is not considered through to a scenario where the overriding consideration is ensuring maximum integration between water services. The scenarios are described below:

Scenario

Definition

Traditional

The implementation of opportunities that achieve compliance through current practice and/or traditional practice. This results in no planned integration of urban water services.

Scenario 1

The implementation of opportunities that with the lowest level of integration that achieve the best environmental and social outcome.

Scenario 2

The implementation of opportunities that with a moderate level of integration that achieve the best environmental and social outcome.

Scenario 3

The implementation of opportunities that with the highest level of integration that achieve the best environmental and social outcome.

The four scenarios address all of the identified issues, and at a minimum, solve all of the compliance issues. The extent to which best practice and aspirational issues are met differs between scenarios. In all the scenarios, the issues relating to data, information and asset management are addressed for the three water services using common management systems. The scenarios are derived from the suggested recommendations of the Project reference Group (PRG). They may be modified to reflect the priorities and preferences of individual communities as more information becomes available.

Click on this link to view a copy of the original IWCM Strategy report

Scenario 3 was Council's preferred option at the time the document went on public display, however there were concerns regarding its affordability.  As a result of these concerns Council convened a value management workshop in May 2010 to investigate a viable means of reducing the overall capital cost and the impact of adopting a reduction in the population growth rate.

The outcome of the workshop was the development of a revised Scenario 4 option that included:

*   a $20 million reduction in cost of capital works.
*   a revised population growth rate of 1% rather than the previously adopted 2%.
*   a revised capital works program with infrasturcutre upgrades timed to suit the 1% population growth.
*   poposed amendments to the off river storage project including a reduced storage size of 4,500ML and a staged expansion of the borefield.
*   reduced expenditure on retrofitting programs, washing machine rebates, rainwater tank rebates and leakage detection programs.

The total capital and renewal cost of the proposed strategy over the projected 40 year period is estimated to be $79.4M for water supply and $100.1M for sewerage. The feasibility of the off river storage project was dependent on the availability of grant money. The State Government committed to subsidising $14.8M the estimated total project cost of $54M and $10M grant was provided by the Federal Government.

Even allowing for this significant level of outside funding the implementation of the strategy will necessitate that Council make significant increases to the typical residential bill (TRB) for both water and sewerage as well as increases to development servicing contributions.

The current fees and charges applicable to water and sewerage can be found in Council's anual fees and charges document.

Click on this link to view a copy of the Scenario 4 document. (12MB document)

Best practice guidelines for water and sewerage as developed by the NSW Government (DPI-Water) require Council's to regularly review and update their IWCM strategy.

Council is due to commence this update process and recently invited expressions of interest for consultants interested in documenting the updated IWCM. Three consultants were then selected to tender for the work with NSW Public Works (Water Solutions) being the successful tender engaged by Council to complete the work.

Works to document the updated strategy will take place over the remainder of 2016 and the early part of 2017.