Project goal:

Ensure that the inactive sections of the Golden Pipeline are removed in accordance with the EPBC Act approval. 

Status:

In planning

Delivery Date:

30 January 2092

What's happening?

Water Corporation received approval in January 2022 under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act Cth) to remove and repurpose above ground sections of Golden Pipeline as it’s gradually replaced.

One of the conditions of the approval is that Water Corporation undertake further consultation with the community, local government and interested stakeholders to inform the preparation of an Interpretation Strategy for the Golden Pipeline.  

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

 

 

When is this happening?

We completed the replacement of a section of pipeline in Tammin in 2022 and will soon start a section in Merredin. Removal of the corresponding sections of decommissioned aboveground pipeline will occur as a separate project in the future.

Why is this happening?

The Golden Pipeline is 119 years old, and some sections need upgrading or replacing to ensure the reliable supply of water to over 100,000 customers. As the pipeline holds significant historical and cultural value, our aim is to implement a strategy that ensures the safe operation of the pipeline, while protecting its heritage value.

Extensive lengths of the above-ground pipeline will be retained for heritage, tourism and operational purposes, following planned community consultation.
The pipeline is on the National Heritage List, which means once sections have been upgraded, removal of older sections required referral to the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) for assessment under the EPBC Act.

In January 2022, DAWE conditionally approved Water Corporation’s proposal to gradually replace the Golden Pipeline as it is upgraded with new underground pipeline over the next 50 to 70 years.

Contact us

For more information please contact Water Corporation Senior Planner, Daniel Stevens on (08) 9420 3383 or Daniel.Stevens@watercorporation.com.au.

 

What is the Golden Pipeline?

The Golden Pipeline is the main water pipeline between Mundaring and Kalgoorlie, spanning some 560 kilometres. The pipeline was completed in 1903 and forms part of C Y O’Connor’s Goldfields Water Supply Scheme (GWSS).

At the time of its construction, the Golden Pipeline was the longest freshwater pipeline in the world, supplying water from Mundaring Weir to the eastern goldfields and agricultural communities in-between.

The pipeline has been continually renewed and upgraded throughout its history, and today serves over 100,000 customers, farms, mines and other enterprises.

The GWSS was included on the National Heritage List in 2011 and is protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Are you taking away the Golden Pipeline?

No. This proposal will ensure that there is always a Golden Pipeline to provide safe and reliable water supply to the people in the Goldfields and Agricultural regions.

The Golden Pipeline is 119 years old, and some sections need upgrading or replacing to ensure reliable water supply. As the pipeline holds significant historical and cultural value, our aim is to implement a strategy that ensures the reliable 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 Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) for assessment under the EPBC Act.

Water Corporation has received approval under the EPBC Act plan to gradually replace sections of above ground pipe with below ground pipe until 2092. Water Corporation has committed to preserving significant sections of aboveground pipe to be appreciated by future generations.

What does Water Corporation propose to do?

Water Corporation plans to progressively remove small (approximately 5 to 10 kilometre) above ground sections of the Golden Pipeline as it is upgraded with new belowground pipe over the coming decades.

Parts of the pipeline are more than a century old and there have been leaks and bursts. The works are required to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of water to the Goldfields and Agricultural regions.

As part of the proposal, Water Corporation plans to implement measures to preserve the heritage values of the scheme and has committed to significant sections of aboveground pipeline remaining in place after 50 years.

Why does Water Corporation want to remove the old pipeline?

Parts of the pipeline are more than a century old and have experienced leaks and bursts. New below ground pipe is less prone to leaks and bursts. The works are required to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of fresh water to the Goldfields and Agricultural regions.

The Golden Pipeline was originally laid below-ground. The pipeline was raised above ground in the 1930s so that leaks could be more readily identified. Modern technological innovations have allowed sections of the pipeline to be replaced with below-ground pipe once again. The Golden Pipeline therefore consists of pipe of various ages and materials. The current proposal is a continuation of the renewal process.

As the Golden Pipeline is gradually upgraded with new below ground pipe, potentially hundreds of kilometres of non-operational pipe will be left in the landscape. Without the presence of cooling water, the steel pipe is unstable and will deteriorate over time. The cost of maintaining this non-operational pipeline potentially diverts public resources from other areas of need in the community.

Large sections of the pipeline also pass through private farmland, where it presents a barrier to farm operations.

Parts of the pipeline are also close to Great Eastern Highway and there have unfortunately been vehicle accidents. Replacement of the pipeline with below ground pipe near to the highway will result in improved road safety.

 

Does Water Corporation intend to remove the entire pipeline?

Water Corporation does not propose to remove the entirety of the Golden Pipeline. Pipeline replacement projects will occur incrementally over the 50-year term of the proposal.

Based on the condition of the pipe, it is anticipated that significant lengths of the current pipeline will remain in operation in 50 years’ time. In addition, significant lengths of decommissioned pipeline will be stabilised and retained in place to preserve its heritage values.

Water Corporation’s proposal will ensure there will always be a Golden Pipeline that safely supplies fresh water to the Goldfields and Agricultural regions.

How does Water Corporation intend to preserve the heritage values of the pipeline?

Water Corporation has prepared policies that will guide which sections of pipeline should be preserved and plans to prepare an Interpretation Strategy.

The Interpretation Strategy will set out where pipe will be retained for heritage purposes and identify other opportunities to celebrate the heritage values of the Golden Pipeline. 

Has Water Corporation considered the Aboriginal heritage values of the pipeline?

The National Listing entry for the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme (GWSS) does not explore the relationship between the GWSS and the Aboriginal heritage values of the land on which it is situated, or the contribution of Aboriginal people to the development of the scheme.

Water Corporation intends to explore these values and the role of Aboriginal people in the development of the GWSS in consultation with Traditional Owners and represent these stories in a co-design approach using truth telling as part of the Interpretation Strategy planned for the GWSS.

Water Corporation will utilise its Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Communities and Aboriginal Engagement Strategy principles to guide the exploratory process to ensure our approach and execution of this commitment.

How will the public be consulted?

In 2018, Water Corporation sought community input on the proposal and briefed various local authorities along the pipeline. This consultation informed Water Corporation’s current proposal under the EPBC Act. DAWE reviewed the proposal and has directed Water Corporation to publish its proposal for public comment, which occurred between Tuesday 28 September 2021 and Monday 25 October 2021.

Further consultation will be undertaken with community, local government and interested stakeholders to inform the preparation of an Interpretation Strategy for the Golden Pipeline. This consultation is expected to start in late 2022.

Daniel Stevens - Senior Planner

Phone icon (08) 9420 3383

Email icon daniel.stevens@watercorporation.com.au

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