An upgraded pipeline, new native fish corridors and public access to a world-famous wetland are on the cards for the region as part of a new water security plan.
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The finalised Macquarie-Castlereagh Regional Water Strategy - which outlines the government's plan for improving water security in central western NSW - was revealed on Monday.
The Macquarie-Castlereagh Regional Water Strategy spans the area from Oberon, Bathurst and Orange in the east to Dubbo, Narromine, Warren and Nyngan in the west.
It is one of 12 regional water strategies the NSW Government will use to plan and manage water needs over the next 20 years.
"It's important we make science-based decisions and ready all the tools in our arsenal to increase drought resilience and reduce risk ahead of a declared El Nino," Department of Planning and Environment executive director of regional water strategies Kaia Hodge said.
"From the worst drought on record between 2017 to 2020 to record-breaking floods last year, the Macquarie-Castlereagh is no stranger to climate extremes, but this strategy sets out 31 clear and achievable actions to prepare for future water challenges."
Among the actions outlined in the strategy is the upgrade of a pipeline connecting Nyngan to Cobar and the construction of new pumps in Nyngan, Hermidale and Cobar.
New corridors for native fish migration will be built at the Dubbo North Weir, the Marebone Break Regulator in Mount Harris, Gin Gin Weir, Narromine Weir, Warren Weir, Gum Cowal and Bulgeraga Creek.
The Ramsar-listed Macquarie Marshes will also open to the general public under the plan, with the government to investigate legal vehicle access to parts of the nature reserve.
The government will also further investigate using some of the flood mitigation storage in Burrendong Dam for water supply, constructing a regional pipeline connecting Dubbo to Nyngan and other towns and replacing the aged and damaged Gin Gin Weir.
Also to be investigated are long-term water security solutions for Bathurst and Orange.
Proposed idea include connecting upper Macquarie towns to the Fish River or Coxs River catchment, sourcing water from the Lachlan Valley, new infrastructure in the upper Macquarie catchment or making changes to Burrendong Dam.
"Many of these initiatives are already well underway, but we also need to take the long-view and plan for our water security over the coming decades - no matter what challenges we face," Ms Hodge said.
The water strategy was developed together with the community including two rounds of public consultation, 28 meetings with the public and 45 meetings with councils across the region.
"Water is a precious and limited resource so this strategy will empower towns and cities in the Macquarie-Castlereagh do more with the water they have to support healthier rivers, healthier industries and healthier communities," Ms Hodge said.
"That's why we're progressing evidence-based solutions across the board, from investigating the best infrastructure options to investing in innovative efficiency measures like stormwater harvesting and recycled water, to implementing programs and projects to deliver better outcomes for fish, wetlands, rivers and ecosystems."
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