Gum­ley leads coun­cil to wa­ter plan

Dubbo Photo News - - Council Watch - By YVETTE AUBUSSON-FOLEY

DUBBO Re­gional Mayor Ben Shields an­nounced this week he would seek to in­tro­duce Level 2 wa­ter re­stric­tions across the lo­cal gov­ern­ment area “as a proac­tive re­sponse to the on­go­ing drought”.

Coun­cil­lor Dayne Gum­ley has pointed the fin­ger of blame firmly at the State Gov­ern­ment that the mayor had to seek such a Coun­cil en­dorse­ment for wa­ter re­stric­tions for Dubbo.

“I don’t dis­agree that we as a com­mu­nity need to be care­ful with the re­source that we have, and we should be look­ing at con­serv­ing it, but I think the State Gov­ern­ment has got a bit of a hide telling one of their clients – which is ef­fec­tively what [Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil] is – that we should take a lead­er­ship role in terms of con­serv­ing wa­ter that’s com­ing out of Bur­ren­dong Dam,” Cr Gum­ley told

“It is in fact the State Gov­ern­ment that is cast with man­ag­ing that wa­ter, and so far they’ve done noth­ing, other than tell us that the dam is start­ing to dry out.”

His com­ments fol­low a me­dia state­ment by Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders who al­legedly said it’s not the State Gov­ern­ment’s role to tell a Coun­cil to limit wa­ter use as a nearby dam ap­proaches empty.

Cr Gum­ley says the State Gov­ern­ment should lead the way in con­serv­ing the wa­ter they are sup­posed to be man­ag­ing.

“In the scheme of things, the town­ships use bug­ger all wa­ter in terms of what is re­leased from the dam, and yet for some rea­son the first thing our lo­cal mem­ber has come up with is telling those who use the least wa­ter to use less,” he said.

“They’re the ones that are in con­trol of the Big Tap, so in my FIFTY-PER cent of re­spon­dents polled over Coun­cil’s now pre­ferred plans for pub­lic toi­lets on Church Street had ex­pressed con­cern over its lo­ca­tion.

How­ever, the cho­sen site was also unan­i­mously en­dorsed by the Dis­abil­ity In­clu­sion Tech­ni­cal Panel and will be built on the east­ern side of the Ro­tunda in Church Street.

Peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity, who pos­sess a MLAK key, will be able to ac­cess the toi­let 24 hours a day, whilst all other users can be gain ac­cess dur­ing nor­mal pub­lic toi­let op­er­at­ing hours (7am to 6pm, or 7am to 7pm dur­ing day­light sav­ings).

A $245,000 grant from the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s Drought Com­mu­ni­ties Pro­gramme Ex­ten­sion, view it re­ally ul­ti­mately falls to the State Gov­ern­ment first and fore­most to be the lead­ers in con­serv­ing wa­ter and mak­ing sure that the dam, and all of our wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture, is ad­e­quate, rather than the Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil area com­mu­nity.”

Wa­ter NSW spokesman Tony Web­ber said ac­cess and avail­abil­ity has been re­stricted over the past 12 to 18 months and in­flows have hit record lows.

“We’ve met with sig­nif­i­cant users such as the zoo, the abat­toir, mines, also at Co­bar, to talk about the next phase of the drought management plan, and that could in­clude a re­stric­tion on high se­cu­rity wa­ter.

“That de­ci­sion will ul­ti­mately be made by gov­ern­ment but we will be pro­vid­ing ad­vice into that de­ci­sion mak­ing process with some ex­pec­ta­tion that high se­cu­rity wa­ter will now fol­low other cat­e­gories and be re­stricted as well.

“The im­pacts of the very se­vere drought con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced for years off and on in North­ern NSW are mak­ing them­selves felt in the cen­tral west with re­gard to wa­ter se­cu­rity,” Mr Web­ber said.

Cr Gum­ley wants Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil (DRC) to also take steps to­ward long-term wa­ter se­cu­rity for the lo­cal gov­ern­ment area.

He has is­sued DRC CEO Michael Mcma­hon a no­tice of motion re­quest­ing an ex­ist­ing and pro­posed wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture report by June and a wa­ter se­cu­rity master plan, which pre­vi­ously has not ex­isted, by Septem­ber.

“No mat­ter what level of gov­ern­ment, we seem to go through this cy­cle of all be­ing sur­prised that we’re in a drought and dams are get­ting low. Ev­ery time it hap­pens.

“Cer­tainly for our re­gion it’s well over­due for us to start look­ing at big pic­ture ideas about how we can se­cure our wa­ter and $200,000 from Coun­cil’s Dis­abil­ity Ac­cess In­fra­struc­ture Re­place­ment, will fund con­struc­tion which will take ap­prox­i­mately four to six weeks.

The lo­ca­tion is one of three pro­posed, and has been iden­ti­fied as the best op­tion based on its prox­im­ity to pedes­trian traf­fic, avoid­ance of ex­ist­ing un­der­ground ser­vices, and off-street lo­ca­tion which pro­vides a safer ac­cess for all users. well into the fu­ture, and not have these last ditch at­tempts to con­serve wa­ter only when we’re des­per­ate for it,” Cr Gum­ley said. Mayor Shields agrees.

“It’s a bit ridicu­lous we only talk about pre­serv­ing wa­ter and wa­ter management in the mid­dle of a drought. There needs to be a dis­cus­sion be­tween all lev­els of gov­ern­ment – fed­eral, state and lo­cal – about how we are go­ing to man­age wa­ter in this coun­try,” he said.

A Dubbo Photo News Face­book post on the sub­ject at­tracted broad com­mu­nity sup­port for the Level 2 re­stric­tion.

“Be thank­ful that you still have wa­ter to use and take heed of Coun­cil’s re­stric­tions. We have two dams and three rain­wa­ter tanks on our small block out of town. The dams have been empty for months now. We have been flush­ing toi­lets with buck­ets and re­cy­cling ev­ery drop of wa­ter where we can. Thank­fully we still have drink­ing and wash­ing wa­ter,” Jenet Ste­wart said.

The State Gov­ern­ment is never far from blame.

“Was nice watch­ing all the wa­ter flow through to ir­ri­ga­tors dur­ing the sum­mer so we can have no wa­ter left now,” Les­lie O'brien said.

Else­where on­line, res­i­dent Ka­rina Mclach­lain said: “I don't like to ad­vo­cate wast­ing wa­ter but why should Dubbo be on re­stric­tions when Wa­ter NSW gives en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter away to cot­ton ir­ri­ga­tors who didn't even ask for it? Es­pe­cially dur­ing a drought? I think Wa­ter NSW has to get their act to­gether and re­duce over al­lo­ca­tion first, and then Dubbo should sup­port them. This way around it looks as if Dubbo is be­ing pun­ished for (some­one else’s) mis­man­age­ment.”

Coun­cil will dis­cuss and pos­si­bly en­dorse the Level 2 wa­ter re­stric­tions at the Or­di­nary Coun­cil Meet­ing this Mon­day, May 27. AL­MOST $500,000 will be spent build­ing a new play­ground in Cameron Park, Welling­ton, but first res­i­dents must choose their pre­ferred de­sign.

These can be viewed on the coun­cil’s web­site or coun­cil staff will be avail­able at the Ro­tary Mar­kets on Satur­day, May 25, to an­swer any en­quiries and step peo­ple through the on­line vot­ing

Lake Keepit:

306m, ris­ing

0.9 per cent,

Lake Menindee:

1.1 per cent, 53.06m, steady

Wyan­gala Dam: 29.5 per cent, 356m, fall­ing

Win­damere Dam: 33 per cent, 536m, fall­ing

Lake Cargel­ligo: 71 per cent, 156m, steady SOURCE: WA­TER NSW, TUES­DAY, MAY 21 process if re­quired.

The new play­ground is funded by the Stronger Com­mu­ni­ties Ma­jor Project and Ev­ery­one Can Play in NSW funds to the tune of $473,343.

The over­all plan will in­clude the de­vel­op­ment of an accessible play­ground with sup­port­ive accessible park in­fra­struc­ture in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture and bar­be­cues. Bur­ren­dong Dam was at 6 per cent stor­age this week. The ex­traor­di­nar­ily low wa­ter level is shown in this photo from above, cour­tesy of Re­becca Sinclair.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.