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Due to climate change and a growing population, our water supply systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of drought. This is the biggest water-related challenge we face in the MidCoast.

Our long-term water plan, Our Water Our Future 2050, will guide how we respond to this, and other major challenges over the next 30 years.

As water is essential to all of us, we’re asking you to consider the solutions we’ve come up with below and provide input into the future of our most precious resource.

It is important to have your say on each solution not just the ones relevant to your area, as they will all influence the cost of our services.

Future water supply options

We need to increase the amount of water we can supply from the following systems:

Our Manning system provides water to more than 80% of our population, from Crowdy Head to Smiths Lake, including Wingham, Taree, Old Bar, Hallidays Point and Forster-Tuncurry. We have identified two options to increase the amount of water the system can provide, and want your input.
  • Option 1: Dam

    An off-stream storage dam would be built on the Peg Leg Creek tributary and would store water pumped from the Manning River.

    Key features:

    • Relies on rainfall
    • Less energy intensive than a desalination plant
    • Potential to produce hydropower and solar energy
    • Can store up to 5 gigalitres
    • Project will take approximately 10-12 years
    • Approximate cost over 30 years: $155 million
  • Option 2: Desalination Plant

    The plant would be built south of Hallidays Point and pump seawater from the ocean and treat it to drinking water standards.

    Key features:

    • Doesn't rely on rainfall
    • More energy intensive than a dam
    • Amount of water supplied can be dialled up or down depending on weather conditions
    • Can supply up to 30 megalitres per day
    • Project will take approximately 8-10 years
    • Approximate cost over 30 years: $240 million

Gloucester and Bulahdelah:
We have identified two options to increase the amount of water the Gloucester and Bulahdelah systems can provide, and we want your input.
  • Option 1: Dams

    Off-stream storage dams would be constructed to increase the amount of water that can be stored.

    • Relies on rainfall
    • Less energy intensive than Option 2
    • Gloucester dam could store up to 250 megalitres
    • Gloucester dam would be delivered approximately 3-5 years after Manning project is completed
    • Bulahdelah dam could store up to 200 megalitres
    • Bulahdelah dam would be delivered approximately 3-5 years after Gloucester dam is completed
    • Approximate cost over 30 years: $45 million
  • Option 2: Connect to the Manning

    Gloucester and Bulahdelah would be connected to the Manning system via a network of pipes and pumps.

    Key features:

    • Water would be supplied from the preferred option for the Manning
    • Opportunity to provide water to previously unserviced locations
    • More energy intensive than dams
    • Would be delivered 8-10 years after Manning project
    • Approximate cost over 30 years: $57 million

Recycled water

Currently, we recycle 25% of our wastewater and irrigate several sporting fields, farms, golf courses and outdoor spaces across the region. We have the opportunity to increase the amount of wastewater we recycle to irrigate more recreational areas and outdoor spaces in the MidCoast. This would ensure they could continue to be used during a drought.

Purified recycled water

Purified recycled water is wastewater that has been treated to be safe to drink. We have the opportunity to increase the amount of water we can supply in the future using purified recycled water.

Would you consider drinking purified recycled water?


  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    28 July 2022

    First Our Water Our Future Group community workshop

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    11 November 2022

    Youth Hackathon for water

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    October 2022 - March 2023

    Online engagement to better understand community values and sentiment

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    December 2022 - February 2023

    Children's illustration competitoin

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    28 February 2023

    Second Our Water Our Future Group workshop

  • Timeline item 6 - active

    17 March - 16 April 2023

    Online engagement and community pop-ups

  • Timeline item 7 - incomplete

    29 June - 2 August 2023

    Public exhibition of draft strategy

  • Timeline item 8 - incomplete

    23 August 2023

    Present to Council for endorsement

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MidCoast Council


We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, the Gathang-speaking people and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who now reside in the MidCoast Council area. We extend our respect to elders past and present, and to all future cultural-knowledge holders.

Contact us


General enquiries - (02)7955 7777

Open Monday - Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm (excluding public holidays)

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Our commitments to you

We deliver benefits for our community in a way that adds value and builds trust.

Why we are engaging

We are committed to engaging with our community in a meaningful way to support decision making, plan for projects, and to strengthen our communities.

By inviting your participation, we aim to create a sense of belonging, connection and involvement, and ultimately greater ownership of decisions by the whole community.

Have Your Say is our online tool for dynamic digital community engagement and provides an opportunity to stay informed and share what matters to you.