Saturday, 16 April 2011

Community Water Scheme Close to Operational

In March last year we posted an article on Ochre Archives where we shared some of the base information about the Ooma Water Scheme. At that time the scheme had been in the planning stages for a few years and construction had just commenced. Since then the local area has had its wettest year on record, making it impossible for the contracted company to complete the task in what would normally be considered a reasonable period of time. It’s ironic that the idea for the scheme came out of many years of drought but then completion was delayed due to flooding!

Last Saturday we decided to take a drive down to the main bore site as we’d learned that some of the members in the scheme were now receiving water. Our own supply from the scheme has yet to commence for various reasons, including the fact that we are at ‘the end of the line’ and thus will be last. We expect our own connection, though, to be operational ‘soon’.
Here are some of the photographs we took and some accompanying commentary.

Forbes Shire Council and especially the Mayor, Phyllis Miller has strongly supported the project from the start. Three very tangible forms of support have included creation and future maintenance of a gravel roadway to the main bore pump site (see photo), support for our grant application to the NSW State Government (approved) seeking funding to cover the cost of the main pump, and lobbying to several key players at at least State level to help ‘remove roadblocks’.

Country Energy was engaged by the main contractor to supply mains power to the main and other pump sites. This photo shows the new ‘heavy duty’ power pole and transformer at the main bore site. Cabling from the power pole is underground which makes for better safety all-round.

Dubbo based irrigation supplies company ‘Aquawest’ was / is the main contractor for the scheme. Jeff Vandermaal has been the lead contact point all the way through and has been great to deal with. This photo shows the main pump overall set-up, with shed close to completion.

The above photo shows the main pump set-up above ground. Components from left to right are: (partially obscured) ball valve to allow to air release and on-site water access, main joiner in case of the need for repairs, water metre, air pressure tank (NB: I’m not exactly sure what it’s role is but hope to find out at some point), gate valve (to close off the flow on the main line if necessary), water pressure metre and the bore casing / head. From memory the bore is around 110 metres deep. The pump is fully submersed which also means it is totally silent when running.
Here is a close-up of the water pressure gauge. The pump was running when we were on-site. Pressure was around 520 kilopascals which in theory suggests that water was being pumped to around 50 metres above the height of the pump prior to adjusting for pipe friction loss.

The above two photos are of the pump control unit … as a whole and a close-up of the control panel.
Here is a close-up of the water metre. At that moment at total of 2,468 cubic metres had so far been pumped. If you look closely you will see that the metre actually measures down to 1/1,000th of a cubic metre which equals 1 litre.

In closing … countless amounts of time, effort, persistent and creativity have gone in to making the Ooma Water Scheme a reality. I ‘take my hat off’ to all of the Committee members and especially the Executive: John Johnson, Clemence Matchett, Robert Johnson, Bill Matchett and Murray Mitton. Our little piece of the world is a better place thanks to these good folks.

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