End of the line: locals facing town water cut

27/04/2020 Posted by admin

UNHAPPY: Jenni and Phil Denniss, right, with neighbours and supporters near the pipe in Bandon Grove on Thursday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersFOR more than 60 years, residents north of Dungog have takentheir drinking water from the85-kilometre pipelinethat snakes it waythrough their properties to Newcastle.

Drawing fromjust up the road,the water mainruns from Chichester Dam to North Lambton andis responsible for supplying almost40 per cent of Hunter Water customers.

But a planto cutoff the domestic town water supply to propertiesat the end of the line, north of Dungog, has outraged residentswho say it will cost them moreand affecteverything from their usage to property prices.

Bandon Grove property ownerJenni Denniss said residents were simply askingto retainthe service theyhave. “Hunter Water istrying to take away our permanent drinking water supply,” she said. “We’re not asking for anything except to keep what we have always had.”

Hunter Water has proposed two options to the 69 propertiessupplied bywater metersalong the last section of the ChichesterTrunk Gravity Main pipeline. Replace their domestic supplywith rainwater tanks or install filtration devices that have to be maintained and servicedby the residents.

None of those options appeal to the majority of affected residents.It’s estimated the change will impact more than 200 people, with one water meter along the pipeline supplying 23 dwellings.

SUPPLY: The Chichester Trunk Gravity Main pipeline in Bandon Grove.

Ms Denniss –who estimatesher water bill willdouble –said a claim that the water presents a health risk because it is untreated has bemused locals.

“We’ve been drinking it for decades and it’s never been a problem, we don’t understand what has suddenly changed,” she said.

Because Hunter Water’s treatment plant is at Dungog, residents north of the township receive “raw” or untreated chlorinated water.

Hunter Water’s spokeswoman said the properties would remain connected to the pipeline for farming and irrigation usage. She said the raw water didnot meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“To date, Hunter Water’s dealings with the vast majority of property owners has been positive and cooperative as we work to deliver either a tank or onsite system at their home,” she said.

Ms Denniss said many residents felt they had no option but to sign onto the new system or risk havingtheir water supply “cut off completely”.

The cost of building a reticulated scheme to service theproperties isestimated at $7 million, or $100,000 per property, which Hunter Water described as “not economically viable”.

Ms Denniss said it equated to each Hunter Water customer paying $5 a year for the next five years. “It’s the cost of a coffee,” she said.

Comments are closed.