Project goal:

We are seeking the ability under the EPBC Act to remove and repurpose the above ground pipe as it is progressively replaced over the next 50 years.

Status:

In planning

Delivery Date:

2018 - 2070

What's happening?

The Goldfields Pipeline is over 115 years old and some sections need upgrading or replacing to ensure safe water supply. As the pipeline holds significant historical and cultural value, our aim is to implement a strategy that assures the safe operation of the pipeline, while protecting its heritage value.

The pipeline is on the National Heritage List, which means once sections have been upgraded, removal of older sections requires referral to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy (DEE) for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act Cth).

We’re seeking the ability under the EPBC Act to remove and repurpose the above ground pipe as it’s replaced over the next 50 years.


Where are we up to in the EPBC Act process?

Our proposal is now being considered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) referral process. On 17 February 2020, a determination was made by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (previously Department of Environment and Energy). See the EPBC Act Public Notices website for the decision (Reference 2019/8547). The decision means that approval will be required for the proposal and that a decision will be made on the Preliminary Documentation.

Consultation

Our proposal was informed by previous community consultation. This helped us prioritise areas of significance along the pipeline for preservation and brainstorm ideas on how to use old pieces of the pipe for the enjoyment of the community. Please read the Community Consultation Report on the Goldfields pipeline replacement for more information.

There will be further engagement opportunities in the future as the project progresses.

If you have any questions contact us at community.engagement@watercorporation.com.au

Where is this happening?

The pipeline travels through around 10 local government areas from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The interactive map below shows the age of various sections of the pipe and whether they are currently installed above or below ground. Click on the map to navigate. For more information, use the map legend below or click the toggle button map toggle.

Legend for the below map of the pipeline from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Map legend

original pipe 1901  Original pipe 1901
pipeline replaced 1935  Pipeline replaced 1935
pipeline replaced after 1935  Pipe replaced after 1935
Above ground  Above ground
Below ground  Below ground
Km markers  Km markers

 

Why is this work taking place?

At 115 years old, the Goldfields Pipeline is showing its age through wear and tear. We’ll eventually need to upgrade and replace the whole pipeline with below-ground pipe to meet today’s performance, safety, security and cost requirements.

We can’t leave the non-operational pipe where it is as there’s a significant cost associated with maintaining any above-ground pipeline. Without regular maintenance, the non-operational pipeline could present safety risks to the public as it will rust and deteriorate over time. But, because the pipeline is heritage listed, we also can’t just remove it.

We value the heritage of the Golden Pipeline and recognise its importance to the community. So we are considering ways to complete our upgrades while preserving the pipe’s heritage value.

When is this happening?

Work to upgrade the pipe will happen progressively over the next 50 years and sections will be prioritised for replacement according to need. Our construction program is based on a 5 year outlook and the replacement is determined by the age and condition of the pipeline. At this stage, we plan to replace approximately 8-10 kilometres of pipeline per year at various locations over the length of the pipeline.

How will this impact the community?

The Golden Pipeline is part of WA’s history and holds a special place in the hearts of the community. That’s why we’ve been consulting with the community throughout this process. Over the initial consultation period, we saw strong support and ideas for the retention, repurposing and showcasing of the pipeline once it’s no longer in use. These will be investigated further as the project gets underway. Some of these ideas have already been explored, such as repurposing a section of the pipeline as a bar at the Perth International Arts Festival.

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What is the Goldfields Pipeline?


The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme was an enormous engineering achievement led by C.Y O’Connor. Completed in 1903, it spans over 560 kilometres between Mundaring and Kalgoorlie. Also referred to as The Golden Pipeline, the scheme continues to operate today and supplies water to around 100,000 people.

What do the upgrades involve?

Upgrades are typically undertaken in sections spanning several kilometres and involve the following three stages:

  1. Identification of a section of pipe that is no longer suitable for use.
  2. Installation of a new section of below ground pipe to meet today’s performance, safety, security and cost requirements.
  3. Removal and recycling of the non-operational above ground pipe.

Why can’t the non-operational pipeline stay where it is?

There is a significant cost associated with maintaining any above ground pipeline. Without regular maintenance the non-operational pipeline could present safety risks to the public as it will rust and deteriorate over time.

How much of the original pipeline remains?

In 2015, the main pipeline was made up of 43.4% Locking Bar (1901-1920s), 4.6% Kellerberrin pipe (1938-1958), and 52% was Mild Steel Cement Lined (1926-2016) with 90.6% of the pipeline above ground.

Has the pipeline been upgraded recently?

In 2014 we obtained approval remove 5.8 kilometres of pipeline in Meckering. We have also undertaken emergency replacements of small sections of the pipeline to fix leaks.

What heritage listings titles apply to the Golden Pipeline?

The pipeline and associated infrastructure was included on the National Heritage List in June 2011 following a submission by Engineers Australia, supported by the National Trust. It is protected under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme is also on the assessment program of the Heritage Council of Western Australia and various components are included on the State Heritage Register and various local government Heritage lists.

Other national landmarks that share this listing are the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Fremantle Prison.

What portion of the pipeline is scheduled for replacement over the next 50 years?


Our capital program is based on a five year outlook and the replacement is determined by the age and condition of the pipeline. At this stage, we plan to replace approximately 8-10 kilometres of pipeline per year at various locations over the length of the pipeline.

Any removal and recycling of the above ground pipe identified for future upgrades cannot be undertaken until a determination by the regulators has been made.

How can the heritage values of the pipeline be preserved?

We value the heritage of the Golden Pipeline and recognise its importance to the community. Some options that are being considered are:

  • Archival recording in accordance with the standards of the State Heritage Office for each section of pipeline that is removed.
  • Repurposing high quality pieces of the pipeline to showcase in the community. For example, a section of the pipeline was reused as a bar at the Perth International Arts Festival and a section of C.Y O’Connor’s original Goldfields Pipeline is now on display in Bernard Park in Northam.
  • Potential retention of strategic sections of the pipeline where they are of value to the community. For example, on main entry ways to towns, on stops along the highway in between towns where locals and tourists can see the pipeline in a safe environment.

Contact us

Sarah Bennett - Community Engagement Advisor

Phone icon (08) 9420 2587 (business hours)

Email icon community.engagement@watercorporation.com.au