THIRSTY Chiltern gardens will be able to get a drink this week after North East Water switched on its new $2.7 million pipeline from Wodonga yesterday.

Gravity will carry more than a megalitre a day of fluoridated water 16km from tanks near the Logic transport hub, and via Barnawartha, to the town.

A pumping station will allow that flow to be more than doubled if required.

Chiltern had previously relied on a series of springs and bores for its domestic water supply.

The immediate impact of the work, which started last November, has been the easing of water restrictions.

The town had been on stage 4 but from this week will go to stage 2 allowing the watering of gardens on set days.

North East Water’s assets manager Kevin Freeman said the pipeline would secure Chiltern’s supply for next 50 to 70 years.

“The groundwater system has become increasingly unreliable over the past few years, with access to water from the springs completely drying up, and yields from the town bore reduced to less than Chiltern’s daily demand,” he said.

“As a result this has seen Chiltern placed on tight restrictions to ensure existing reserves can maintain critical supply.

“With the completion of this project, Chiltern will now be supplied from a far more secure source, enabling water restrictions to be eased in line with that experienced by our customers in Wodonga.”

Mr Freeman said the connection of the pipeline would also improve the quality of Chiltern’s water supply.

“Over recent years, as yields from the groundwater sources have fallen, we’ve seen taste and odour issues,” he said.

“But this water will be fluoridated and disinfected.

“The level of FLUORIDE will be unnoticeable, in the past we have had to reduce the fluoride concentration in the water from the springs back to what is in the Wodonga supply, so effectively there will be no change.”

Barnawartha will also benefit from the new pipeline.

But that arm of the supply has yet to be commissioned.

North East Water said that it would consult with the Chiltern community over the future use of the disused springs.