A million litres of free water delivered under drought scheme

Water carter Col Graham pumps out another load of potable water from the water dispensing station in Riley Street.
Water carter Col Graham pumps out another load of potable water from the water dispensing station in Riley Street.

UPDATE

The $25,000 allocation for potable water from Tenterfield Shire Council's million dollar drought grant has now been spent.

Council's chief executive Terry Dodds said the allocation will be oversubscribed by several thousand dollars by the time deliveries are made over the next fortnight to those already set to receive water, and no further households will be added to the queue.

The Salvation Army's Yolande Soper advised that while the local project has now ended, assistance is still available through the Salvos' head office in Sydney which has put on more staff to deal with the huge workload. 

The contact number is 1300 551 030. Mrs Soper said similar assistance is available for eligible households, but it will be in the form of the cash deposit into a bank account to fund a water delivery.

EARLIER

Drought-affected households are taking advantage of the free potable water being supplied by Tenterfield Shire Council, with around a million litres of water delivered under the scheme so far.

The scheme is administered by Joel Soper of the Salvation Army in Tenterfield, which cartage costs also covered for eligible households. He can be contacted on 0410 693 593.

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Council's report to the February 27 meeting said that water carter Col Graham had supplied 51 loads (881,025 litres) to community members at the time of the report being prepared. A second water carrier (with a smaller truck) began operating several weeks ago, but hadn't supplied any data.

While eligibility information isn't available (the Salvos would prefer people to contact them to see what options are available), queries over how smallholders can have access to the free water persist.

"I've been carting water everyday for 10 weeks," Councillor John Macnish said at the meeting.

"Yet people with two acres and one horse are getting free water."

There is reluctance in some quarters to access the Salvation Army option, with farmers feeling they're "taking water from starving children". However the Salvos did receive funding specifically for this purpose, so it does not impact their other services.

Potable water, at $6.20 a kilolitre (1000 litres), can be collected by anyone from the water dispensing station on Riley Street in Tenterfield, opposite the council depot.

The station works on an EFTPOS card basis. Select the required volume of water and pay with a card, and turn on the tap.

A number of outlets are provided, down to garden hose size. If the selected volume of water can't be collected (because the capacity of the container has been overestimated, for instance), shut off the tap and the card will be charged with only the water collected.

The Riley Street station is currently the only permanent water dispensing station in the shire, although at the same meeting council did get the go-ahead for a second installation at Urbenville.