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Advanced Operational Support Program

Supporting local water utilities in regional NSW to optimise the performance of existing water treatment plants so that more regional towns have reliable, resilient and safe water services.

Bridge over water

About the program

The Advanced Operational Support Program provides valuable assistance to local water utilities. At no cost to councils, it aims to address challenges faced by operators in adapting their training to specific water treatment infrastructure and water quality changes.

The program offers expert personnel, on-site assessment, advice, online monitoring solutions, and training to optimise water plant operations, helping operators improve their skills in treatment plant optimisation and effectively manage water quality.

The program aims to improve public health and safety in regional NSW by reducing drinking water quality risks. The program will achieve this by delivering key outcomes, including:

  • reduced risk of water quality incidents
  • enhanced local water utility capability to identify and respond to issues
  • improved local water utility understanding of operational processes.

Outcomes from the program will inform future government support and collaboration with the sector to further reduce risks. The program is being delivered using a phased approach.

  • Phase 1a: Specialist service provider development of online monitoring solutions (August 2023 – November 2023)
  • Phase 1b: Onsite assessments delivered by the department (September 2023 – December 2023)
  • Phase 2: Intensive onsite support (February 2024 – September 2024).

The application process

In June 2023 the department called for expressions of interest from local water utilities to participate in the program to help resolve water treatment plant operational risks and issues.

Eligible submissions were assessed against the following criteria:

  • Safe and Secure Water Program water quality risk score
  • existing treatment plant operational risks and issues
  • plant critical control point performance, including online monitoring systems.

Assessments also considered other matters, including the scope and timing of any proposed future plant upgrades, and availability of operators to participate in the program.

The department formed a steering group to oversee the program and assess expressions of interest. This group consisted of representatives from the department, NSW Health, and Water Directorate to provide ongoing guidance and oversight throughout the process.

All applicants were notified of the outcome of their application in August 2023.

Successful participants

Following a rigorous assessment process, the below local water utility owned treatment plants were selected and have accepted offers to participate in the program.

Local water utility nameLocation of water treatment plantParticipating program phase
Armidale Shire CouncilGuyra2
Balranald Shire CouncilBalranald1a, 1b, 2
Bourke Shire CouncilBourke2
Cabonne Shire CouncilMolong1a, 1b, 2
Central Darling Shire CouncilIvanhoe1b, 2
Coonamble Shire CouncilCoonamble1a, 1b, 2
Glen Innes Severn CouncilGlen Innes1a, 1b, 2
Hay Shire CouncilHay1a, 1b, 2
Hilltops Shire CouncilBoorowa1a, 1b, 2
Mid-Western Regional CouncilRylstone1a, 1b, 2
Moree Plains Shire CouncilBoggabilla1b, 2
Murrumbidgee CouncilJerilderie1a, 1b, 2
Map showing location of water treatment plants listed above
Map of participating water treatment plants