NSW drought: Bathurst Regional Council halves water costs

Photo: FILE
Photo: FILE

THE cost of buying water from Bathurst Regional Council’s standpipes has been halved in an effort to help the drought-affected community.

Currently, 100 per cent of the Central Tablelands has been declared in drought (64.5 per cent) or ‘drought onset’ (35.5 per cent).

The proposal was brought to council’s policy committee meeting on Wednesday night by councillor Jess Jennings who told the Western Advocate “it’s severely bone dry everywhere you look”.

There, he asked fellow councillors to back the initiative, which they did, and by the following day the water cost had dropped from $5 a kilolitre to $2.50 under a provision in council’s water pricing policy for drought affected areas.

Council has three dedicated water filling stations for the dispensing of drinking water which are located in Hereford Street, between the Macquarie River and Gilmour Street, where all water tanks are to be filled.

People wishing to access water must visit council's cashiers during business hours to obtain a water card and prepay for water that will be credited to the water card.

Individuals must make their own arrangements for water cartage.

Acting mayor Bobby Bourke said council’s decision would benefit the rural community.

“Most of the region is feeling the effect of the drought and reduction of the cost of water will help alleviate some of the impact,” he said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Cr Jennings also called for councillors to back his proposal to provide free stock and domestic water for “verified primary producers”.

“It could be the difference for some farmers … to decide what they’ll do with their stock,” he told the Advocate prior to the meeting.

Councillors did discuss the proposal, however, at this stage it has not been adopted.

Cr Jennings also called a change to the trigger point for water restrictions for residents.

Most of the region is feeling the effect of the drought and reduction of the cost of water will help alleviate some of the impact.

Bathurst Regional Council acting mayor Bobby Bourke

Currently level one water restrictions are enforced when Chifley Dam reaches 40 per cent capacity, however, he said this should be changed to 50 per cent.

"We're only 100 days away from reaching the 40 per cent trigger,” he said.

The dam’s water level is currently 53 per cent.

Meanwhile, council has reminded the community to continue saving water during the cooler months with the Water Wise campaign.

The campaign provides resources and tips to support and remind residents to continue with water saving habits at home and in the workplace.

For more information visit www.bathurst.nsw.gov.au/water.