Water frustrations: ‘If anything it’s only getting worse’

Recent water quality concerns have led to the creation of a petition to the NSW premier, requesting she lobby the federal government for funding.

Tathra’s Rebekah Fowler said she created the petition, which currently has 285 signatures, out of frustration.

Ms Fowler said she had contacted council and had been told it is awaiting federal funding to deal with the issue through the introduction of water treatment plants.

“Bega Valley Shire Council is working towards this multi-million dollar undertaking, and partnerships with government are being pursued,” council said.

Ms Fowler said Bega MP Andrew Constance was yet to reply to her concerns.

In a 2015 poll, over 28 per cent of readers said they had discoloured water more than once a week, while over a quarter experienced it fortnightly.

“Out of seven days in a week, five of those days we have brown water,” Ms Fowler said.

Council said the Bega Valley’s unfiltered water is tested externally for compliance against the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, and while discoloured it remains within the guidelines.

“To reduce the occurrence of discoloured water, BVSC undertakes routine, planned flushing of all mains via hydrants, and at times, air scouring and ice pigging also, to assist in the removal of fine sediments,” they said.

Ms Fowler said the flushing is not improving water quality.

“If anything it’s only getting worse,” she said.

Dissolved iron and manganese in groundwater,elevated copper levels via pipework corrosion and biofilm growth in pipes are known issues in Bega Valley water systems.

According to the NSW Department of Industries, Bega Valley residents pay above the state average for water usage, and water quality complaints are slightly above the state average.