Delivering drinking water to Wyangala

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West says the unique geography of Wyangala and the high-cost of upgrading the 20-year-old water treatment facilities at this stage mean that there is no easy answer.
Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West says the unique geography of Wyangala and the high-cost of upgrading the 20-year-old water treatment facilities at this stage mean that there is no easy answer.

Cowra Council is exploring options for delivering safe drinking (potable) water to Wyangala following confirmation the water supply is currently not safe for drinking.

A report to Council confirmed recent tests finding that the village’s water supply has not met the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

At the last Council meeting, Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West said the discovery of the non-potable status of the water was a result of testing, not illness. 

“This is a product of a rigorous water testing process, there were no illnesses caused by the water being cloudy,” Cr West said. 

Wyangala residents are advised to bring water to a rolling boil prior to consumption. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.

The unique geography of the village and the high-cost of upgrading the 20-year-old water treatment facilities at this stage mean that there is no easy answer, Cr West explained.

“The relatively small population and the scattered lay-out of the village means that a number of ‘dead-end’ water mains mitigates against any easy solutions to this problem,” Cr West said.

Council is therefore establishing a project to investigate options for a water treatment plant at Wyangala, its likely cost, and what improvements are required to ensure safe delivery of treated water to Wyangala residents.

Councillor Judi Smith said there has been a history of ongoing problems and the solution would be dependent on both the Department of Water “being able to come to the party” and the number of users in the village. 

“The best interim solution is to declare it non-potable, acknowledging there are very few people who use it at the moment anyway and to continue our investigations and liaisons with various parties,” Cr Smith said. 

“We will also communicate with the Crown Lands Holiday Parks Trust —operators of the Wyangala Waters Holiday Park — who are exploring the possibility of providing potable water for Park tenants. It may be possible for Council and the Trust to explore a cost-sharing model for providing potable water to the whole village in the future.”

Until that time, residents and ratepayers are advised to follow the previous advice provided at the time the problem was first detected.

Cooled boiled or bottled water should be used for:

  • Drinking, cooking, washing raw foods (such as seafood or salads), making ice, pet’s drinking water and cleaning teeth.
  • Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher.
  • Children should take bottled or cooled boiled water to school.