BOOTS were set to be on the ground early this year for the start of the Quipolly Dam project works, but this isn't expected to happen.
The project will see a new treatment plant and pipeline from the dam built, both of which are key to water security for the Liverpool Plains shire and solving ongoing water quality issues in Werris Creek.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) said back in September it hoped to engage a contractor by Christmas so work could start in early 2021, with a completion date of late 2022.
But LPSC mayor Doug Hawkins said he didn't see work starting until at least 2022.
This is because contracts had yet to be finalised, and a choice between two contractors had to be made, he said.
"We haven't settled on a contractor, that may happen in the council meeting in February," Cr Hawkins said.
"Even given February/March, if the contracts are let, when they say 'boots on the ground' I assume they mean diggers and tradies, but I don't see that happening until 2022."
It's not the first time the project has been delayed, either.
Construction was originally slated to start in late 2019 but this was pushed back due to hold-ups with government approvals and redesign due to the drought.
The 21km two-way pump-driven pipeline will be built between Quipolly Dam and Werris Creek, and between the dam and Quirindi, which will then connect to the existing pipeline from Quirindi to Willow Tree.
In Werris Creek, the current water tower will be made redundant and water from the dam will feed into an existing tank alongside it.
The $30 million project is the largest LPSC infrastructure investment it's ever made. It contributed $10 million to this amount, alongside the $10 million each from the state and federal government.