Gunnedah council propose to reduce water price for villages

The main street of Mulllaley, which is also the Oxley Highway.
The main street of Mulllaley, which is also the Oxley Highway.

Savings of nearly $300 in household water bills could be made by residents in Gunnedah shire’s villages, under a new proposal by council.

The Water Equalisation Proposal asked residents through a social media survey, whether they would support a price variation in water bills depending on their location, to deliver fairer charges to shire villages. 

Council proposed an example where the average Gunnedah user would see a $6 increase per year. But Curlewis households would save about $9 per year, Mullaley $142 and Tambar Springs would benefit with a big $269 reduction in the average water bill.

Mullaley business operators Sue and Ian Hall said the price reduction could not come soon enough.

“That will certainly help reduce our expenses,” Mrs Hall said.

The Mullaley residents of nearly three decades said the town’s water supply, which is fed from a bore outside the village, has been “filthy” for years. 

“It’s full of calcium,” she said.

“You can wash with it but you can’t drink it. It only just keeps our plants alive and it leaves white marks everywhere.”

Similar experiences of poor water quality were reported at Curlewis and the Halls said they have replaced their hot water system a number of times to the high calcium levels. 

“Ours needs replacing now,” she said.

A council spokesperson said they undertake weekly water quality testing for all its potable water supplies.

Since 2012, Mullaley’s results have demonstrated compliance with the guideline requirements of all elements including turbidity and PH over this time but some “minor exceedance” of free chlorine levels has been recorded.

The spokesperson said there is also regular NSW Public Health Chemical Compliance Testing demonstrating Mullaley’s drinking water exceeds the aesthetic guidelines relative total hardness and dissolved salts, but is still substantially within the Wold Health standards for drinking water.

“We haven’t received any customer requests regarding these comments but would welcome the opportunity to discuss should someone wish to contact us directly,” the spokesperson said.

The overwhelming majority of those who responded to council’s price variation survey agreed the small price increase for Gunnedah users is fair to reduce significant costs for village households.