Help de­nied

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - Front Page -

Two lo­cal hous­ing es­tates could run out of wa­ter be­cause the New South Wales Gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to re­ject their calls for help.

It has re­fused to al­low Ed­ward River Coun­cil to trans­fer wa­ter from its re­serves to two sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, and the same re­sponse is an­tic­i­pated de­spite house­holds run­ning dry.

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion is based on a rule around the level of Lake Menindee and has been de­scribed as ‘‘ridicu­lous’’ by those af­fected.

The im­pacted houses are at Riverview Es­tate in De­niliquin’s south-west, and Cooinda Es­tate in the south-east.

They are run­ning out of wa­ter be­cause each has a gen­eral se­cu­rity al­lo­ca­tion, which re­mains on zero de­spite huge quan­ti­ties of wa­ter be­ing poured down the sys­tem to South Aus­tralia.

Res­i­dents took their con­cerns to Ed­ward River Coun­cil, which had ex­cess wa­ter and agreed it could be trans­ferred. Only a small amount of the ex­cess was re­quired.

But the gov­ern­ment’s Of­fice of Wa­ter is un­likely to per­mit the trans­fer.

Gen­eral man­ager Adam McSwain and Mayor Norm Bren­nan trav­elled to Syd­ney late last month to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion to OoW bu­reau­crats, hop­ing for a change of mind.

‘‘The Of­fice of Wa­ter cur­rently does not al­low coun­cils to trans­fer wa­ter un­til Menindee Lakes gets to a cer­tain level,’’ Mr McSwain ex­plained.

So un­der present rules the coun­cil could pour the wa­ter down the drain and that’s okay, but trans­fer­ring to res­i­dents or sport­ing clubs is not al­lowed.

Trans­fer re­quests for De­niliquin Golf Club and the De­niliquin race­course re­serve have al­ready been re­jected by the State Gov­ern­ment be­cause of rules un­der the Wa­ter Shar­ing Plan.

ERC be­lieves it has found a so­lu­tion for De­niliquin Golf Club through a wa­ter ac­cess li­cence process.

Mr McSwain said the re­quest from hous­ing es­tates had not been for­mally sub­mit­ted to the Min­is­ter, but ex­pects the same re­sponse as to other re­quests.

‘‘We have al­ready supplied some fil­tered wa­ter to the golf club’s dam a few weeks ago as a short-term mea­sure. Through Wa­ter New South Wales we have now been able to at­tach a zero share com­po­nent wa­ter ac­cess li­cence to the De­niliquin Golf Club pump for a lo­cal wa­ter util­ity. This al­lows us to trans­fer wa­ter to the wa­ter ac­cess li­cence lo­cally.

‘‘Coun­cil will con­tinue to work with other af­fected groups to try and find any lo­cal so­lu­tions pos­si­ble. We don’t be­lieve the golf club so­lu­tion will work for other groups, but we will en­deav­our to find a so­lu­tion.’’

The Riverview Es­tate Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion has asked for a tem­po­rary trans­fer of 100 me­gal­itres for stock and do­mes­tic sup­ply for use up to June 30, 2019.

The es­tate com­prises 52 hold­ings which have adopted self-im­posed wa­ter re­stric­tions in re­sponse to the zero per cent gen­eral se­cu­rity al­lo­ca­tions.

The Law­son Wa­ter Sup­ply Com­pany Pty Ltd has re­quested a tem­po­rary trans­fer of 35ML to the Law­son Wa­ter Sup­ply — which sup­plies to the Cooinda sub­di­vi­sion — via Mur­ray ir­ri­ga­tion.

Nei­ther es­tate is con­nected to the town wa­ter sys­tem and is en­tirely de­pen­dent of al­lo­ca­tions to have wa­ter for their prop­er­ties.

Most prop­er­ties in both es­tates lack suit­able stor­age fa­cil­i­ties to take ad­van­tage of coun­cil’s cur­rent of­fer of up to 30,000 litres free wa­ter per res­i­dence.

The to­tal re­quested from both es­tates is 135ML, and coun­cil has up to 2000ML which could be avail­able for trans­fer.

Riverview Es­tate Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion man­ager Lester Wheat­ley said with­out ac­cess to coun­cil wa­ter, res­i­dents will be forced to buy wa­ter on the open mar­ket just to op­er­ate the plumbing ser­vices at their home.

With wa­ter trad­ing in ex­cess of $400 a me­gal­itre this week, he said it was a ‘‘to­tally ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion’’.

‘‘For a com­mu­nity in­de­pen­dent of the town wa­ter sup­ply to be de­nied a re­quest like this is ridicu­lous,’’ Mr Wheat­ley said.

‘‘It’s not as if the coun­cil is be­ing asked to sup­ply wa­ter to some­one other than its ratepay­ers.

‘‘Stock and do­mes­tic wa­ter is needed for home plumbing, for other do­mes­tic pur­poses and for our gar­dens.

‘‘The res­i­dents have al­ready in­voked their own re­stric­tions — no gar­dens, pools or or­na­men­tal lakes — and the next step will go to odds and evens wa­ter­ing if there is no im­prove­ment.

‘‘The ar­range­ment with coun­cil is a mat­ter of last re­sort in this case.

‘‘It’s plainly a ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion the coun­cil has been put in and some­thing has to be done about it.’’

De­niliquin Golf Club man­ager Norm Pur­till said coun­cil’s so­lu­tion is a relief, say­ing if the ef­fort to get more wa­ter had fallen through it may have meant the club had to ‘‘hand in the keys’’.

‘‘If there’s no wa­ter, there’s no golf course,’’ Mr Pur­till said.

‘‘Our last re­sort was to go to the mar­ket, but that would cost about $60,000 to $70,000 and we feel that money would be bet­ter spent on im­prove­ments.’’

Mr Wheat­ley said an ad­di­tional dis­ad­van­tage of be­ing forced onto the open wa­ter mar­ket would be the re­duc­tion of the con­sump­tive pool for food and fi­bre pro­duc­tion, which is al­ready re­stricted due to wa­ter shar­ing rules im­pact­ing on gen­eral se­cu­rity al­lo­ca­tions.

NSW Mem­ber for Mur­ray Austin Evans, who was only ad­vised of the is­sue with the hous­ing es­tates last week, said the sit­u­a­tion high­lights we must ‘‘go back through the logic’’ of the Wa­ter Shar­ing Plans.

‘‘It (the WSP) should al­ways be up for re­view, and we need to check these things,’’ Mr Evans said.

‘‘I do un­der­stand where they are com­ing from with the rules though — town wa­ter is al­ways a pri­or­ity and if we don’t get much more rain be­tween now and this time next year that is all the wa­ter the town has.’’

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