News

$5m boost for water supply

By Southern Riverina News

Murrumbidgee Council has secured an unexpected $5 million to be used on water treatment facilities.

About $3.5 million will be spent at the Jerilderie plant along the main street, while the rest has been allocated for Darlington Point.

As part of the funding agreement with Safe & Secure Water, Murrumbidgee Council must also pay $350,000 towards Jerilderie’s facility.

General manager John Scarce said the facilities have already had separate grant money allocated.

‘‘In both situations we allocated $800,000 through the Stronger Communities Fund (commonly referred to as merger money) so we can pay the required 10 per cent through that.

‘‘We’re finalising the plans now so hopefully we’ll have all detail on costs by September.’’

Mr Scarce said the upgraded facility will be looking at ways to avoid a cease-to-flow situation along the Billabong Creek.

‘‘When the plant was first built it was drawing out of a flowing Billabong Creek.

‘‘If the regulator is installed at the Yanco Creek there will be times we have cease-to-flow orders.

‘‘We’ve had that in the past and when it occurs the turbidity 10 times more than what the plant was designed for. If it’s a new plant or new process it will take that into consideration,’’ Mr Scarce said.

The decision by Safe & Secure Water to approve the grant came as a surprise, as council was told in June last year it was unsuccessful.

According to then general manager Craig Moffitt, council had been advised it ‘‘needed to better differentiate the plans for new a plant from the existing plant and systems’’.

Council was advised to submit a funding application ‘‘to develop a Business Case to indicate we have fully explored technologies and options for replacement’’.

‘‘It’s difficult to say why we were successful this time around,’’ Mr Scarce said.

‘‘Council was provided with all indications that our application wouldn’t be successful.

‘‘We actually didn’t reapply, it’s the same application. Perhaps it was looked at closer by the department; that’s the best I can think of.

‘‘It was quite a surprise because at a staff level we were in discussions about how we work around it and fix the problems, then we’re received a letter explaining we’re received $5 million,’’ Mr Scarce said.