The dam – to be constructed by state owned utility Hunter Water – is a key component of the water security plan for the Lower Hunter and Central Coast Regions in the state of New South Wales. Hunter Water has already spent about A$33M for land purchases and investigations of the dam site, and intends to spend this years budget allocation for land purchases, the finalisation of the Environmental Assessment Report, dam designs, road designs and community consultation.

The utility intends to secure all the necessary regulatory approvals and commence construction in 2010. It will be submitting its Environmental Assessment Report to the Department of Planning in July or August this year. The department will then put that report out for community comment.

In the meantime Hunter Water will be continuing its investigation process in the Williams Valley site and expects to have a concept plan by the end of the year, and the final design by the end of 2009. The water plan, centred on the construction of a dam wall at Tillegra Bridge, envisages the stored water being released into the Williams River and transferred to Hunter Water’s existing Grahamstown Dam via infrastructure at Seaham Weir and Balickera pump station. The dam will also be connected to the existing Chichester pipeline. A hydro plant, with a capacity for 2000MWh per annum is also expected to be built at the dam.