River Water– it can be such a scarce commodity. But how much river water do we really use?
Each household will be able to find out the answer to that very soon, with the Balonne Shire Council starting the installation of river water meters across St George.
It’ll take approximately a year to install the meters. After that, Council will show you how to read your meter, as well as print your usage on your rates notice for several cycles.
After gathering residential usage data for a minimum of 12 months, Council will be able to consider a rating model to match the cost of the service to the user.
‘The goal of installing the water meters is to manage the consumption of this precious resource,’ said Mayor Richard Marsh. ‘If someone wants to use a lot of water – that’s fine. If they don’t use a lot of water – that’s fine too. We just need to make it fairer for everyone.’
Councillor Richard Marsh said "there has been a lot of talk in the community about Council installing river water meters on St George properties." He said, "while the installation of river water meters has commenced, no decision about water rating has been made, and will not be made until data is gathered over several rating cycles."
Council currently provides the river water to St George properties through the Hutt Street pumping station and distribution lines. Council’s cost to pump and supply water to St George is approximately $270,000 per annum in addition to a $330,000 payment to Sunwater to extract the water from the river each year. Council needs to recover the cost of providing the service and wants to make this equitable to all users. The installation of the water meters will assist council to gauge the usage of our river water. Currently all St George properties pay the same fixed rate for water and the river water meters will help inform council on what is an equitable rate for all.
“We are listening to community feedback at this early stage. The public will be invited to comment on water rating models when they are developed which will not be for some time yet – in eighteen months to two years time. We need to gather the data before any charge or rate decision can be made. The meters will also help you to monitor your water usage. Water restrictions are in place to help reduce usage and balance the need of keeping our gardens and lawns watered,” said the Mayor.
Residents who are concerned about rates in the Balonne Shire can find information in this report which compares all Councils in Queensland. http://www.dilgp.qld.gov.au/resources-ilgp/plans-strategies-reports/local-government-comparative-reports.html
Finally, the installation of the water meters is not the cause of water pressure variations. Further information about this topic can be found on our news page.