River water meters to be installed in St George


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More than 900 river water meters will be installed from 19 June at all St George properties to help Council understand how river water is being used.

Mayor Richard Marsh said the primary purpose of the meters was to understand how much river water was being used by residents.

“Water is our most valuable commodity and it would be irresponsible of Council not to monitor its use,” he said.

“Council will be able to better manage the region’s water resources if we have an understanding of our residents’ usage patterns.

“Residents will not be charged for their usage of river water at this point in time but once usage data has been gathered Council will, in the future, use it to develop an appropriate rating model.”

Council received six tenders for the installation of 925 meters and awarded the $105,380 contract to Lightn Plumbing.

Cr Marsh said the initial installation of meters required a licensed plumber, but once installed Council would service the infrastructure.

“It is estimated the installation of all the meters will take 13 weeks,” he said.

“The residential river water supply to residences will be interrupted at the time of installation as the meters will be inserted into the supply pipes.

“The meters will be situated outside the property boundary and we have been advised they should only take a couple of hours to install.

“These works are not anticipated to interfere with our bore water supplies.”

Residents and businesses will be advised of work in their vicinity via a letterbox drop prior to work beginning.

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.