Community pool plan to keep swimmers paddling through dry
DROUGHT won't dry up Southern Downs swimming pools this season, as council turns to alternative water sources to ensure continued access to cool water on hot summer days.
The pools at Stanthorpe, Killarney and Allora must be drained and refilled before their September opening to remove algae build up and duck faeces on the pools' walls and bottoms.
Once the pools are cleaned, bore water will be used to fill the pool at Allora and treated raw water from the Killarney reservoirs will be used for the Killarney and Stanthorpe locations.
At no point will the pools use the reticulated water supply reserved for urban ratepayers.
Community concern for water use has mounted as drought wore on, but Mayor Tracy Dobie said the pools were too much of an asset to sacrifice over summer.
"Council believes that the region's swimming pools provide immense community and social benefits,” Cr Dobie said.
"Council is fully aware of the need to preserve the dwindling water supplies, however, we believe it is not in the best interest of the community for the pools to remain closed over the spring and summer period to preserve water.”
Allora Swimming Club president Emily Henry said the pool was an essential part of their small town.
"It's essential that it is provided,” Mrs Henry said.
"It's used for the development of children's swimming skills and it helps the elderly community keep fit and in their homes.”
If the pool at Allora were to close, Mrs Henry said the older generation may lose the opportunity to have low impact exercise.
"Some don't have licences and wouldn't be able to travel to use a pool,” she said.
But no drop will go to waste: The contaminated winter water will be emptied and put towards council maintenance and roadworks.
A spokeswoman for the council said water had to remain in the pools while facilities were closed to weigh down the concrete structures and prevent long-term damage, such as cracking.
Mrs Henry said it was no big deal for the Allora pool to use bore water, as it had been doing so for many years in the past.
"It wasn't that long ago that the pipeline went in and we came onto town water,” she said.
"If that's what we need to do to maintain the pool to be open then absolutely.”
While Mrs Henry was glad a solution was found for the refilling of the community pools, she said council could be doing more to save water.
"We hope this year council will replace the solar blankets on the pool because that would help with the reduction of evaporation of water,” she said.
Mrs Henry said the last solar blankets disintegrated six or seven years ago, and though the community has asked council and applied for grants to replace them, their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.