NSW town loses water as temperatures near 40C

| 04.01,19. 10:19 PM |



NSW town loses water as temperatures near 40C



Photo: The Barwon River continues to be a series of stagnant pools with the region reliant on bore water. (ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Walgett residents have been left without water for a day after a breakdown at the local treatment plant, which also left some people without air conditioners, as western New South Wales sweated through a heatwave.


The local council issued an urgent warning for the community to conserve their use of filtered water as levels in the reservoir dropped to a critical level.


On Thursday, locals reported there was little to no water flow, with the pressure too low for many evaporative air conditioners to operate.


Some businesses were forced to close, including local butcher, bakery and deli services.


Walgett's temperature peaked at 39.4 degrees during the water shortage.


Walgett resident Margaret McIntyre is mother to three young boys, aged between one and nine.


"I had no aircon yesterday. My kids were so hot yesterday we had a single fan and it was blowing hot air," Ms McIntyre said.


Local woman Donna Therese says the town's water security must be secured urgently.


"Some of our elderly community members did not have use of a cooling system yesterday because there was no water getting to their evaporative air conditioners. The heatwave out here is extreme," she said.


Reliant on emergency bore water


The problem was sparked by a high voltage fault at the water treatment plant on Wednesday night which the council says occurred due to "unforeseen circumstances".


A complete power failure at the plant caused problems with the control board so water could not travel from the bore to the reservoir.


Water levels in the reservoir quickly dropped from near-full capacity to below 25 per cent.


Engineers and council workers fixed the problem on Thursday evening, and by Friday morning the water supply was restored.


However, the warning to conserve water remains in place for the community while the reservoir refills.


It is the latest setback for the remote community as Walgett struggles through a water crisis.


The town is currently on level six restrictions and relies on an emergency supply of bore water.


Recent tests of the bore water supply also found its sodium levels exceed Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.


The council's new general manager, Greg Ingham, said he was investigating how to secure the region's water supply so it is not impacted by mechanical breakdowns.


"I'm a bit perturbed that in this day and age there didn't appear to be a back up," he said.


"It may be more technical than that. But we need to ensure in the future that there is back up for these unforeseen circumstances.


"We have got a limitless supply of bore water. We need to make sure that our systems and our pumps can extract that water. We can treat it and we can continue to supply it to the community.


"Although rain water is preferable, the climate is changing, and we have to accept we could possibly have these long, dry conditions forever."


Considering giving up pets under limited water


The water crisis is coming at a huge cost to Walgett local Margaret McIntyre's young family.


"I have used over 50 litres of drinking water which my mum bought up at Christmas," the mother of three said.


"Luckily I breast feed, but if I used bottles I would have to fork out thousands [of dollars] on safe water to drink."


Ms McIntyre said water was so scarce her family was considering giving way their pets.


"We have been having to use indoor water for our dogs, chickens and pigs," she said.


"We will soon have to either sell our pets, which are part of the family, or pay for their water.


"The government needs to open their eyes."


Fellow resident Donna Therese said the issue must be dealt with urgently.


"Our water situation is at critical level. This has been going on in our community for months and I don't understand why our elected members of parliament are not taking this seriously," she said.


"Are we to run out of water completely before this is seen as a state of emergency؟"



abc




(Votes: 0)

Other News

Man dead after crime spree in Sydney suburbs of Bass Hill, Chullora, Rockdale and Arncliffe Labor committed to scaling back negative gearing despite steepest housing downturn since GFC NSW aged care worker charged over alleged assaults of five elderly residents Stabbings at Sydney Scientology centre leave one man dead Australian housing market falls 4.8 per cent, in biggest drop since global financial crisis Bestjet collapse leaves angry customers feeling 'cheated and robbed' amid booking chaos Federal Government shuts Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre Child dies after tractor incident near Warrnambool Cyclone Penny could re-form and track back towards Queensland coast, Bureau of Meteorology says Chemical stockpiles found at Melbourne warehouses linked to West Footscray inferno Opal Tower woes continue after new cracks found on lower levels Police officer injured in hit-and-run while doing breath tests in Adelaide on New Year's Day Category one Tropical Cyclone Penny to cross Queensland coast this afternoon Sydney New Year's Eve revellers hit by heavy rain after camping overnight to see fireworks New Year's Eve celebrations in Australia's capital cities will include new pastel fireworks and extra public transport Man dies after being run over while asleep at a camping ground in southern New South Wales Queenslanders in state's far north urged to factor tropical cyclone threat into New Year's Day plans Man dies after taking 'unknown substance' at Lost Paradise music festival NSW Government to crack down on dodgy building certifiers following Opal Tower saga Teenager shot by police in Brisbane after wielding knives and 'threatening officers' Police arrest Chilean 'tourists' allegedly running luxury goods burglary syndicate in Australia Boy, 7, travelling with truck driver dad dies in Darling Downs highway collision Deaths in Duncraig and Clarkson house fights see two men charged with murder NSW Police investigate video of officer appearing to tell driver 'go back to China' during traffic stop Sydney Opal Tower crack photos emerge as NSW Government launches investigation Bonnyrigg man who shot stepmother in head with nail gun on Christmas Day charged with attempted murder Drone operator stops Christmas Day bushfire waterbombing on Bruny Grafton man shot by police after allegedly lunging at them with knife Australians lose more than $200 million a year by paying with cards over cash BOM warns Australians to expect 'extreme heatwaves' after Christmas