Nineteen companies from across Australia have submitted tenders for the construction of Dubbo's multimillion-dollar cross-city pipeline.
A "lengthy assessment process" has not as yet led to the contract being awarded.
The pipeline is the showpiece of Dubbo Regional Council's multifaceted plan to boost potable groundwater supplies in this drought and the next.
The council called for tenders in January and announced the underground pipeline would be built by June.
But two extensions to the tender deadline have pushed back the construction phase.
"The first extension was due to changes in technical design, and following these changes a number of companies requested more time to submit their amended tenders, therefore it was extended a second time," a council spokesman said on Thursday.
"The tender for the cross-city pipeline has now closed. There were 19 tender submissions.
"A lengthy assessment process has been undertaken, however council hasn't entered into a formal contract as yet."
The spokesman said the company awarded the contract would "work to a 20-week construction schedule".
About 19 kilometres of pipes will be laid under land owned by the council or road corridors it manages.
The pipeline will move recycled water from Dubbo Sewage Treatment Plant into the city to replace untreated groundwater used for irrigation.
In turn it will take the groundwater to the John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant.
The cross-city pipeline may deliver recycled water to big consumers of water who don't need "full potable water" and allow the council to trade recycled water for irrigators' groundwater.
The storing of recycled water in the Upper Macquarie alluvial aquifer may be another function of the new piece of infrastructure.
The council's Water for the Future Strategy, which includes the cross-city pipeline, is being funded by $30 million from the state government.
The government gave the council the money in June 2019 as Burrendong Dam succumbed to the drought.
About a year ago it was at six per cent of capacity compared with 20.9 per cent on Thursday.
"The rain has been extremely welcome," the council spokesman said.
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