Essential Water provides water supply services to over 10,000 customers in Broken Hill, Menindee, Sunset Strip and Silverton. In addition sewerage services are provided to Broken Hill.
The service area is the most arid in the state and experiences extreme climatic variations including more frequent drought than coastal areas. Eight years in ten-town water supply is dependent on water sourced from the Darling River and pumped over 120km's of pipeline to Broken Hill. These unique operational circumstances combined with drought conditions cause salinity and other water quality problems in the raw water that Essential Water must treat.
Essential Water is an end water user and is licensed to extract 10 Gigalitres of water per year from the Menindee Lakes Scheme, on the Darling River. There are 3 other sources of water. These are managed by Essential Water:
- Stephen's Creek - capacity 19,000ML.
- Umberumberka - capacity 8,000ML.
- Imperial Lake (emergency water supply) capacity 600ML.
These act as stores for water from rainfall over our local catchment area. Stephens Creek also acts as a terminal storage for water from the Menindee Lakes Scheme before it is pumped to Mica Street Treatment Plant. The reservoirs supply between 30-90% of our annual water needs. This is highly variable dependent on the level of rainfall we receive of our local catchment area, and can be critical in times of drought.