Albany to Denmark pipeline secures town’s water supply for 50 years amid huge winter rainfall

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie, Water Corporation chief executive Pat Donovan, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington, Shire of Denmark deputy president Mark Allen, and Water Minister Dave Kelly.
Camera IconWarren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie, Water Corporation chief executive Pat Donovan, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington, Shire of Denmark deputy president Mark Allen, and Water Minister Dave Kelly. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The $25 million Albany to Denmark pipeline is officially complete but it will not be used to deliver drinking water until next winter as Quickup Dam continues to overflow at levels not seen in 16 years.

Water Minister Dave Kelly on Monday poured the first glass of water from the 43km pipeline, which delivers water from the Lower Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme about 30km north of Albany to the Denmark township.

Work started on the pipeline in July last year and finished in February, injecting $6.2 million into the local economy and providing 186 jobs.

The cost was originally estimated at $32 million.

It has been in the works since 2019, when consecutive dry winters sparked fears for Denmark’s water supply.

The pipeline will be used in winter and spring, while Denmark’s core water source, Quickup Dam, will be used in summer and autumn, when demand is higher.

The pipeline is not expected to be required until next year because of high winter rainfall.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington and Shire of Denmark deputy president Mark Allen.
Camera IconAlbany Mayor Dennis Wellington and Shire of Denmark deputy president Mark Allen. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Mr Kelly said the pipeline secured Denmark’s water supply for the next 50 years.

“Due to climate change, we can’t rely on rainfall to sustain the supply from Quickup Dam,” he said.

“The fact is that this winter’s heavy rainfall is an anomaly — the last time Quickup was full at this time of year was 2005.” The pipeline connects Denmark to the same water source as Albany, Mt Barker, Kendenup and Narrikup.

Mr Kelly said the pipeline would only be accessible to firefighters in “absolute emergencies” because it was not designed for that purpose.

But there would be “no material impact on Albany’s water supply” from Denmark’s use of the scheme, he said.

“The long-term future for Albany’s water is secure,” he said.

“The only thing that is threatening Albany’s water supply is the same as everybody else’s, and that is the long-term impacts of climate change.

“Eventually, into the future, a city like Albany will probably need its own desalination plant.

“But that is because of the impacts of climate change, not because of what we are doing here in Denmark.

“The groundwater supply for Albany will last Albany for a considerable period of time, and we do believe there are options to extend that.

“The Water Corporation is investigating other sources around Albany.”

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