It might not have quite been the day they were hoping for but a small speed hump wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of Biniguy residents who will very soon be enjoying a clean, reliable water supply for the first time ever.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Moree mayor Katrina Humphries were meant to be turning on the tap for the first time during the official opening of the town's new water supply on Thursday, November 28, however two water main breaks put a small dampener on the celebrations.
"We had two water main breaks ... the first was yesterday at Pallamallawa when we turned the pumps on and this morning we had another one out here [at Biniguy]," project manager Graham Macpherson said.
"It's not major but we wanted to fill the tank yesterday."
The breaks will both be fixed over the coming days and Biniguy residents will then have potable water flowing from their taps for the first ever.
One of Biniguy's oldest residents, 77-year-old Pat Quinn has lived in the village her whole life and has only ever had access to tank and bore water, which affects her white goods and often clogs up her hot water system.
Ms Quinn hasn't had rainwater in her tank for a while, as she's been waiting for the water supply project to be complete. She said it will make a "huge" difference to her day-to-day life.
"It will be really good," she said.
Fellow lifelong resident Doug Hancock agreed.
"Most of us live off bores, so when the power goes out we have no water unless you have a rainwater tank," he said.
"It'll make a lot of difference. The bore water at my place is very harsh. If the air conditioning leaks, it rusts the corrugated iron. You can't wash your car or you'll have white soda all over it.
"The village has a lot of pensioners, so it's a great thing. Thanks to council for getting it."
The $3.96 million project, funded by the state government and managed by council, involved the construction of an 11.5 kilometre water pipeline from a new pump station at Pallamallawa Reservoir Site to two new 60 kilolitre reservoirs at the Biniguy Water Treatment Plant, as well as the installation of a reticulation system throughout Biniguy to provide residents access to a safe and reliable treated water supply.
Mr Marshall said the completion of the project, which has taken just over 12 months, marks a historic milestone for Biniguy.
"This is a historic day for this community who will be able to be connected to the town water supply for the very first time ever," he said.
"We don't often see these pioneering moments now where we've switched a water supply on for the first time ... so this is significant having a whole village taken off private water sources and put onto a public water source. Rain, hail or shine, when residents turn on the tap, they'll have clean water."
Mr Marshall said the water tower also "puts to bed concerns" people have had about potential contamination of the bore water supply with many of the village's in-ground septic tanks currently discharging into the same aquifer homes have drawn water.
"I'm pleased to say this supply will also ease pressure on residents' hip pockets, saving them money by reducing the need to buy water to fill up empty rainwater tanks," he said.
"Today is the culmination of three years of hard work and I congratulate Moree Plains Shire Council for what it has done to deliver this project for the community ahead of what is expected to be continued hot and dry conditions this summer.
"When these projects were announced, we didn't know we'd be in the middle of the worst drought, so these projects are really, really timely."
Cr Humphries said the project has long been a vision for council but would never have been realised without the NSW government's funding.
"Over the years, the residents of Biniguy have been incredibly resourceful in securing water for themselves but I am so pleased that the community will now enjoy a reliable and safe supply of water," she said.
"Now more than ever, the value of being able to turn on a tap and have access to safe drinking water cannot be underestimated. Yes, it's about clean water, but that water also ensures the sustainability of the Biniguy community for generations to come, and provides new opportunities for development. It really is possibly the best Christmas present for this community."
Mr Macpherson added that about 75 per cent of the contractors involved in the project were local, which means money going back into the local economy.
"Twenty-five council staff have worked on this project as well," he said.
"This means a considerable amount of money from this project has gone back into the local economy. That's a big deal in a drought situation like the one we're facing."