ON THE CARDS: The water carting plan could see rural residents receive their own potable water supply. Photo: Southern Downs Regional Council.
ON THE CARDS: The water carting plan could see rural residents receive their own potable water supply. Photo: Southern Downs Regional Council.

CARTAGE ON CARDS: SDRC to truck water to residents

DROUGHT-STRICKEN residents across the Southern Downs could soon have water carted directly to their property under a new proposal from SDRC, though only a lucky few will benefit.

The $200,000 initiative comes as part of the $1-million Extension to the Drought Communities Program, and would be based largely on the council’s similar 2019 plan.

The aid would be restricted to rural residents without a reticulated water supply, who would then need to fill out an expression of interest form for council approval before receiving their potable water delivery.

Water would cost $6.80 per kilolitre for residents under the scheme, with SDRC to only cover cartage costs.

Southern Downs councillors debated the proposal during today’s ordinary meeting, which would give residents a limited number of uses from the estimated total 550 services.

According to Mayor Vic Pennisi, allocation would be dependent on individual residents’ circumstances, rather than a ballot or selection system.

“When you run out of water, I don’t think you all run out of water at the same time, and I think they’ll be wanting it there and then as they run out,” Cr Pennisi said.

“I’ll expect we’ll run out of cash first, so it’ll probably be those who need it most who will be lining up first.”

Councillor Cynthia McDonald also strongly advocated for the program on behalf of rural and agricultural workers.

“Having had a level of experience with working with farmers and drought relief over the last couple of years, there are still a couple of schemes out there for primary producers to use in conjunction with the cartage,” Cr McDonald said.

“It’s important people realise this, because we are still very much drought-declared in this region and have been for some time now.”

The proposal comes as SDRC’s latest water consumption data reveals major town centres across the region are continuing to exceed the 120L per person, per day water restrictions.

September water meter readings across the region indicated residents in Stanthorpe, Warwick, Killarney, Wallangarra, Allora, and Pratten were using between 140L and almost 190L a day.

Southern Downs councillors voted unanimously in favour of considering the water carting proposal, though a timeline was not given at this stage.

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