NORTH Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston stands atop the Shannon Creek Dam which has won a prestigious engineering award.
NORTH Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston stands atop the Shannon Creek Dam which has won a prestigious engineering award. Adam Hourigan

Shannon Creek Dam wins award

ONE of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in the Clarence Valley has been recognised as an engineering masterpiece.

The 30,000 megalitre capacity Shannon Creek Dam was chosen as the overall winner at the Engineers Australia Newcastle Division Engineering Excellence Awards last week.

The project was completed by Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour councils, in partnership with the NSW Government and Leighton Contractors. It is expected to meet the region's water needs until at least 2046.

North Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston said the prize was a significant achievement and recognition of the cooperation between Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour councils, as well as the team behind the project.

“It has been judged by our peers in engineering and it is a major achievement recognising a significant piece of infrastructure,” he said.

Among other things, the project was judged on its benefits to the community; the quality of the work; sound engineering; community focus; environmental focus; and clever solutions.

Currently sitting at 20 per cent of capacity since construction finished in December last year, Mr Preston said the dam drew its water supply from the Nymboida River, providing the region with an alternative source of water during dry periods.

“It's about the security of our water supply and having an alternative source of water rather than relying on the Nymboida River system,” he said.

The project was judged on both its built elements, such as construction, as well as its non-build elements, such as water efficiency and environmental management.

While the dam has been designed to meet the bulk water supply needs of the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour to 2046, Mr Preston said it could last even longer if residents continued to conserve water.

“The Clarence community in particular have responded well to water efficiency,” he said.

He said the project had been completed on time and within budget and he expected the dam to be working at full capacity by the end of the year.

The facility boasts a large picnic and recreational area, as well as walking tracks. Much of the area, owned by Clarence Valley Council, has been dedicated as a conservation area.

The Shannon Creek Dam storage facility and recreational areas will officially open to the public on July 20.



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