Cobar's Water Restrictions have been tightened and will be enforced.
From 13 February 2017 an 'odds and evens' system is being introduced. If your house number is an even number, you can water on even dates, ie 2nd, 4th, 6th of the month. If your house number is odd, you can water on the odd dates, ie 1st, 3rd,5th of the month.
Watering can occur between 6pm and 8am only. There should be no outside watering other than during these times.
These measures are essential to reduce the demand for treated water. The Water Treatment Plant is operating well beyond its capacity and Council is trying to reduce the demand for water to greatly improve water quality for our residents.
Council appreciates your assistance in this matter. If residents continue to ignore the water restrictions, fines will be issued.
CONTINUED DISCOLOURED WATER ISSUES - WHAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM?
The three main factors influencing the quality of Cobar's water at present are:
- - The quality of the raw water delivered to Cobar;
- - The capacity of the Water treatment Plant;
- - The condition of some sections of pipe network around town carrying wtaer from the treatment plant to you.
QUALITY OF RAW WATER DELIVERED TO COBAR
Cobar receives raw water from a number of sources at various times of the year, namely runoff water caught in the local catchment that is stored at our water storages, water from the Macquarie River via Nyngan and water pumped from the Bogan River. The majority of water being processed at present is coming from the Bogan River. This river system was in full flood for most of spring. As a result, there are high organic levels in the water.
This poorer quality water entering the water treatment plant requires more chlorine to treat it. Higher levels of chlorine release more sedimentation in the old pipes, worsening the disclouration of the water.
However, the raw water quality is improving, resulting in less chlorine being used in the treatment of water.
THE WATER TREATMENT PLANT
The current plant was built around 1964 and has a capacity of 4ML per day. Regularly at this time of year it is pushed to produce at least 7ML per day. This is one of the main reasons Council has accessed funding to build a new, higher capacity plant at a cost of $15.75m. Given the extreme heat we have been experiencing and the length of the heatwave, the water treatment plant has been working well above its capacity for an extended period of time.
As the water is pushed through the system very quickly, there is no settling time. Despite this, the water quality is good and very clear as it leaves the treatment plant. Once it leaves the plant, the water enters the pipe network.
COBAR'S SYSTEM OF WATER PIPES
There is well over 40km of pipework distributing the water throughout the town. Over the years works have been undertaken and redundant pipes have been shut off, but not disconnected from the system.
At least 6km of the pipework are old cast iron pipes. These pipes are in particularly bad condition with very high sedimentation of iron manganese inside. This has greatly reduced the ‘passageway’ of water, restricting the size of the pipes.
This sedimentation that has built up is dislodged as the velocity of water increases and when chlorine levels rise. Also, when flow rates increase through the pipework, sedimentation dissolves into the water All these factors create discolouration.
As the water temperature rises, chlorine levels will fall. This can result in more chlorine being added to the water to ensure water is disinfected all the way to the end point - your house or business.
WHAT IS COUNCIL DOING?
- - Council has implemented tighter water restrictions. We ask the community to abide by these to reduce the amount of water the treatment plant must produce and to reduce the flow of water through the pipe system;
- - Should you experience discoloured water, turn the tap on at the front of your house and run the water onto the garden for a short time to assist in removing the affected water. Call Council on 6836 5888 and a Council officer will come to your area and flush the system;
- - Council must replace the affected sections of pipework. Planning is underway and the project is being treated as a matter of urgency and will take place over the remainder of the year. Council is continuing to speak with the state government about possible funding sources to undertake the work. Funding is required as this project will cost more than $6 million, which equates to $3,000 per connection should the community have to fund it;
- - Tenders for the replacement of the Water Treatment Plant have closed. Council is confident that we will acheive a good outcome through this process. The new plant will be built over the next two years.
Regular testing of water throughout the system is undertaken. The quality of Cobar’s drinking water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink. However, Council is working in partnership with DPI Water and NSW Health to seek solutions to improve treated water quality.
We appreciate that the hot weather conditions make it difficult to reduce water use and that it is also making it difficult to correct the discoloured water you are experiencing. However the water treatment plant simply cannot keep being pushed beyond its limits and Council is doing everything we can to improve the quality of water provided to our residents without a significant increase in cost to the residents.