A multi-million dollar project to droughtproof one of the biggest cities in regional New South Wales has been approved.
Environmental approval has been granted to build a 37-kilometre pipeline connecting the City of Orange, in the state's central west, to the Macquarie River.
The green light comes three years after the Federal Government and NSW Government agreed to pay $38 million towards the cost of building the pipeline.
During the recent drought Orange faced some of the country's strictest water restrictions because of the city's dwindling supplies.
Orange City Mayor John Davis says he is relieved that Orange's water supplies will now be secure.
"It's been three-and-a-half years of intense pressure on this project which is going to secure the water for Orange for the next 30, 35 years," Cr Davis said.
"I've got to thank my community for being very very patient for three-and-a-half years with our water restrictions and being very very co-operative in continuing to support this project."
The project has prompted fierce opposition from some farmers, environmental groups and state MPs.
Colin Young from the Orange Ratepayers Association says the Council's calculations of how much piped water will cost residents are wrong.
"Not $490 a megalitre for that water that's being pumped up," he said.
"The 70 per cent that flows back over the dam wall, it's going to be around $4000 a megalitre to pump it to Orange."
Those against the pipeline have warned it will have a devastating impact on the river and surrounding land.
© ABC 2013
11:07 EST Heavy rain, strong winds and powerful surf will batter eastern New South Wales over the next few days due to an East Coast Low.