Precious water

Sally Alden

It’s a hot dry December and with water shortages severely impacting the Willow Tree township last year, Rod Batterham from local Council is advising residents to remain water-wise as Level 4 restrictions are introduced this year.

The Water Services Manager for the Liverpool Plains Shire Council encourages all residents to stick to the newly introduced Level 4 water restrictions.

“A continuing decline in the single source supplying the Willow Tree water system and the need to truck in supplies to supplement that dwindling resource, has triggered the need for the introduction of Very High water restrictions for all connections on the Willow Tree supply.”

The restrictions totally ban watering of gardens and lawns by any means, at any time, a total ban on washing down of vehicles or outside surfaces and a total ban on the filling or topping up of swimming pools.

“In the past week there has been a further reduction in pump performance based on available water into the well, to the point where there is very little contribution from the well source,” continued Mr Batterham.

The reduced pump performance has resulted in the need for costly, supplementary water cartage to the town water supply.

“Despite previous requests to limit usage it is obvious some people weren’t abiding by Level 3 restrictions and with even the slightest volumes impacting on the ability to retain storage in the system, individuals surreptitiously using hoses during hours of darkness, whilst perceiving its effect to be a drop in the ocean, have contributed to the decision to go to Level 4,” said LPSC Water Services Manager, Rod Batterham.

Council is asking all consumers to attend to any leaks they may have and to disconnect and roll up hoses and remove them from gardens.

Council also said people who flout the Level 4 restrictions are simply cheating on fellow residents and face being fined.

Business owner of Hair Heaven at Willow Tree, Cat Hewitt, who ran out of water last year, is not looking forward to the upcoming months.

“The summer looks ominous, so far my business hasn’t been duly effected with water shortages, but I am worried about the coming months and we are so looking forward to the new water pipeline from Quirindi being built.”

Fellow business operator Libby Phillips of Wagtail Willows is connected to town water to run and operate the cafe section of her giftware boutique.

“We a close-knit community in Willow Tree and we are pulling together to get through this very dry season. We are all holding our breath in anticipation of the new water pipeline,” said Libby.

Earlier this year Council were successful in obtaining a government $4,825,000.00 grant to fund the construction phase of a water pipeline from Quirindi to Willow Tree and once the tender process has been completed the construction phase can commence. Council say it is hoped work will commence early in 2015.

While there is light at the end of the tunnel for Willow Tree residents and business owners, in the interim period, or until we get good rains to charge the bore, council faces expensive transport and labour costs to truck in water supplies.

“Co-operation and adherence to the Level 4 restrictions by all Willow Tree consumers is more important now than ever,” concluded Mr Batterham.

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