Dirty water rage
AS TasWater pushes ahead with its program of cleaning up Tasmania’s tap water, regional residents are becoming impatient for a basic necessity.
Last week the northern towns of Avoca and Mole Creek became the latest to lift a do-not-consume water alert, but 20 other towns are waiting for safe drinking water.
Derwent Valley residents have spoken out about the expense, difficulty and embarrassment of life with dirty tap water.
Gretna residents have been lobbying for years for the town to be delivered safe tap water.
Gretna Green Hotel owner Colleen Sharpe said her business faced higher costs because of the town’s dirty water.
She said she was giving away bottles of water to incredulous tourists and continually repairing machines that became clogged because of the water — such as her washing machine, ice-maker and coffee machine.
“Sometimes after a lot of rain the water is the colour of a beer bottle,” Mrs Sharpe said.
She and husband Phil bough the hotel in 2004, and the water had never been potable in their time as owners.
“The feedback we get from tourists is they can’t believe it,” Mrs Sharpe said.
“We end up giving tourists bottles of water for nothing.”
TasWater chairman Miles Hampton said the organisation was committed to fixing water quality by August 2018.
He said TasWater made a commitment in August last year to fix 24 towns, and he was confident of delivering clean water to 12 of those towns by the end of next month.
“We have committed to the 24 towns and we are halfway through the journey,” he said.
Last week, Premier Will Hodgman described the recent upgrades as “too little, too late”.
But Mr Hampton said TasWater was on target with the upgrades, with some delays due to expanding plans and making clean water reach more towns than originally intended.
He said about 4 per cent of the state’s population did not have clean tap water in 2010.
“Now we are down to 0.8 per cent … and we are confident that it will be down to 0 per cent by end of August 2018.”
Gretna resident Kate Barnett said she could not wait to see the end of “third world” water standards.
She said her family could not drink the water, brush their teeth with it, wash white clothes or bath children.
“There are mothers here driving 16km each way to New Norfolk just to wash their babies’ clothes.”