News

Estate water pleas

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Two Deniliquin residential estates are languishing without access to water for basic human needs, and are pleading with Edward River Council to expedite any possible assistance.

The Riverview Estate and Cooinda Estate developments, much like the Deniliquin Racecourse and Deniliquin Golf Club, depend on a general security allocation to access their water licences.

With the NSW Murray Valley remaining on zero, representatives from each estate say they face the very real risk of running out of water before a solution can be found.

Addressing Edward River councillors and staff before their extraordinary meeting on water for the racecourse on Thursday, Cooinda representative John Mulham said the 25 landholders who make up the Lawson Water Supply Company Pty Ltd ‘‘are looking at only three weeks of water remaining’’.

‘‘Through accidental circumstance we (the Lawson Water Supply Company Pty Ltd) are C class shareholders of Murray Irrigation instead of having access to the town water supply,’’ Mr Mulham said.

‘‘With the five per cent distribution recently announced by Murray Irrigation, we have only about 10 megalitres of water left (for the season).’’

Also pleading for help for his estate was Riverview Estate Community Association executive member Warren Newton who said even with self-imposed restrictions the estate’s water is quickly disappearing.

The estate consists of 55 properties, including the Deniliquin Boat Club.

‘‘We’ve been at Riverview for 30 years and we have never run out of water, not even in the Millennium Drought,’’ Mr Newton said.

‘‘We started this season with 101 megalitres, including carryover, and like everyone else we thought we could get some general security allocation before now. But we still have nothing, and we’re on the Edward River and seeing all that water flowing past (to head downstream to South Australia).

‘‘We implore council to review our situation again and if it could see fit to expedite the water transfer.

‘‘This is the first time we have come to council for a transfer, and we hope it will be the last but it looks like there won’t be any water next year either.’’

Cr Norm McAllister said while he appreciated the situation both estates were going through, he questioned why the estate would not pay for its own water.

‘‘Those on the town water supply are paying $1500 a megalitre for water, and as a farmer I buy my water in,’’ he said.

‘‘It is relatively simple, but also hard, but maybe the thing is you need to buy your water on the temporary market.’’

Mr Newton said the difference between farmers and the residents in the estate is that the water is being used to earn an income on farms.

‘‘We are not farmers, and we have to rely on what is in our personal accounts,’’ he said.

‘‘We can maybe buy some in, but then we’re left with nothing.

‘‘We are not asking for filtered water, and we are willing to pay for transfer costs.’’

General manager Adam McSwain said restrictions in water sharing planes are preventing council from just giving water to the estates.

He said council would continue negotiating with relevant authorities for an adequate solution.