After three months of planning, farmers’ free water approved in seconds

FREE WATER: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke at the Hereford Street standpipe. Photo: SUPPLIED

FREE WATER: Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke at the Hereford Street standpipe. Photo: SUPPLIED

BATHURST councillors have unanimously supported a plan to supply free water to the region’s struggling farmers.

The plan, first proposed by Councillor Jess Jennings first in June as a way Bathurst Regional Council could support the region’s farmers who were battling an ongoing drought, was approved without discussion on Wednesday night.

Under the scheme, eligible farmers will be able to access up to 20 kilolitres of free water a week for domestic and stock use.

Farmers can apply to take advantage of the scheme by filling out the application form on council’s website or at the civic centre.

Applicants will need to present a driver’s licence and a Property Identification Code from their local lands council. Council staff will then verify the applicant as a ratepayer.

Water filling station cards will cost $20.

The card will provide eligible farmers with access to 20 kilolitres of water each week from the Hereford Street filling station.

Cardholders must personally attend council to top up the card and the card is not a disposable item; it is designed for repeated use.

Conditions published on the council website say that the water taken from the filling station is only for personal use and cannot be provided to a third party.

Users of this service are responsible for cleanliness of containers/tanks filled from filling stations and Bathurst Regional Council has no responsibility for water quality once water is removed from the standpipe.

Council will monitor usage and reserves the right to cancel access to filling stations if conditions of use are not complied with.

The free water scheme will end when, either, Ben Chifley Dam reaches a capacity of 40 per cent or lower, a drought declaration is lifted for the Bathurst LGA, or four months after the scheme begins.

Farmers can download an application form from the council website.

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