THERE is some cause for optimism among Upper Hunter residents.
Construction of multiple pump stations, that will be able to move two megalitres of water a day from Scone to Murrurundi, is expected to start next month.
A 40km long pipeline will follow, with the contractor Leed Engineering and Construction estimating up to 600m of pipeline a day can be laid in open paddock.
Two teams, each with equipment including a 30-tonne excavator, will install the pipeline simultaneously starting in Scone and Wingen, and working towards Murrurundi.
It will be buried for the entire length of the route.
The only areas where the completed pipeline will be visible are where it enters/exits the pump stations and there will be above-ground access points to the pipeline valves along the way.
The project is estimated to cost $14.2 million, with more than $13 million in funding provided by the NSW Government's Restart NSW Water Security for Regions program.
The remainder of the project funding is provided by Upper Hunter Shire Council.
The pipeline is due to be completed in mid-2020.
It is anticipated that a new, larger reservoir for Murrurundi will be built soon after.
The pipeline design allows for drinking water reticulation and reservoirs for the villages of Blandford, Parkville and Wingen to be constructed in the future, and council has been pursuing the connection of these villages as a high priority.
Council recently received confirmation of a further 60 per cent of $4,444,000 grant subsidy from the NSW Government's Safe and Secure Water Program to assist with the delivery of water supply systems for Blandford, Parkville and Wingen and the new reservoir for Murrurundi.
The money is dependent on the submission of a business case.
This funding is in addition to the $1,736,000 already allocated to village reticulation and reservoirs from the original Restart NSW Grant.
Council is separately applying for funding for the Middlebrook and Gundy water supplies.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said the pipeline and village connections were part of the NSW Government's ongoing commitment to water infrastructure for regional communities.
Landholders along the pipeline who are interested in connecting have been supplied copies of council's Rural Water Supply policy.
Copies are also available at council offices.