Media Release: Water Availability in the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup

Published: Tuesday, 28 April 2020 at 10:09:25 AM

At the April Ordinary Council meeting, Council acknowledged concerns in the community regarding the ability of landowners to access water from standpipes in the Shire. Specifically, concerns raised included:

  • Lack of flow/pressure at Crawford Street standpipe
  • Lack of water at Tambellup West tank due to high use
  • Cost of water at Donald Street given slow flow rates

What water infrastructure is in place in the Shire?

Broomehill: 
STANDPIPES:  SITE MAIN SIZE

WATER CORP COST $/Kl (to the Shire)

ACCESS
Shire Depot 50mm 8.56 No public access
Greenhills Road 50mm 8.56 Swipe card metered
Cemetery Rd 50mm 8.56 Swipe card metered
Tambellup:

STANDPIPES:  SITE

MAIN SIZE

WATER CORP COST $/Kl (to the Shire)

ACCESS

Shire Depot

40mm

8.56

No public access

Crawford St

50mm

8.56

Swipe card metered

Donald St

40mm

8.56

Manual metered tank feed

TA West Road

25mm

2.60

Swipe card metered tank feed

Water Corporation Dam

50mm

8.56

No public access

Treated Waste Water:

Tambellup is serviced with a reticulated sewer network that allows for the use of tertiary treated waste water. This currently allows for Tambellup Oval watering during specific periods. The allocated treated waste water was used for this summer.

Andersons Bores:

In the south east corner of the Shire there are two bores known as Andersons Bores. Both are currently operating with few issues.  These bores are unmetered, and power use is not charged to users. There is no information on current extraction rates or levels of use, though anecdotal evidence is that there has been significant use of this resource.

Dams/tanks:

There are a number of dams and tanks in Broomehill and Tambellup that are connected and used for a variety of purposes, predominantly for maintenance of parks, gardens and ovals.  These are not currently accessible to the public.

Concerns raised

The three facilities at the centre of landowners concerns (Crawford St, Tambellup West Rd and Donald St) are controlled by the Water Corporation. 

 Currently large volumes of water are being taken from the Crawford St standpipe for transport to other centres including Kukerin, Jerramungup, Fitzgerald and Ongerup.  This facility is connected to a 50mm main (it is noted that the Water Corporation has restricted the flow from 50mm main down to 40mm). The larger mains connection results in an increased flow rate, and is charged at a higher rate per kilolitre accordingly, however it is acknowledged the increased draw from this source by the Water Corporation may result in lower pressure/flow rate.  Shire staff will contact the Water Corporation to clarify this.

The Tambellup West Rd standpipe is connected to a 240kL tank and a 25mm main.  The smaller connection to the scheme results in a slower flow rate, and is charged a lesser rate per kilolitre accordingly.  With seasonal conditions as they are, the draw on this source has increased, with larger volumes being taken, and the slower flow rate means the tank is slower to fill after being emptied – it is estimated that with no use, the tank will take up to 48 hours to fill. This has resulted in water not being available at times.

The issues being experienced at the Tambellup West Rd standpipe has seen increased use of the Donald St tank.  This tank is connected to the scheme via a 25mm line from a 40mm main, and as a result, is quicker to fill after being emptied.  However – the larger main feeding this tank means the water is charged at a higher rate per kilolitre.

Council is aware of discussion in the community about the original purpose of the Donald St tank being for stock water during periods of drought – regardless of the original intent of the facility, as it is connected to the scheme it is now controlled by the Water Corporation and water accessed through this source is charged in accordance with Water Corporation charges to the Shire.

Water Charges

The costs of water were considered at the February Ordinary Council meeting, following the Water Corporation’s review of infrastructure and charges during 2019.  Council endorsed the following fees for sale of water:

  • Tambellup West Road standpipe:            $3.40 per kilolitre (no change – 25mm meter)
  • Crawford Street standpipe:                        $9.20 per kilolitre (50mm meter)
  • Greenhills North Road standpipe:           $9.20 per kilolitre (50mm meter)
  • Broomehill-Kojonup Road standpipe :  $9.20 per kilolitre (50mm meter)

At the time of consideration of the amended fees, Council was unaware that the Donald St tank was being accessed for water.  At the March meeting, Council determined that water from this source would be charged at $9.20 per kilolitre, as per the Water Corporations charges.

While it is regrettable that these costs have increased, the Shire’s Fees and Charges are determined on a cost recovery basis and in this case, include the Water Corporation rate and a small sum to partially offset the cost of operating and maintaining the infrastructure.  Unfortunately Council is not able to subsidise these costs.

Declaration of Water Deficiency?

Council officers have requested information about Water Deficiency Declarations, and advice received indicates that there is no current criteria that would allow the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup to be declared as Water Deficient. Advice received states as follows:

‘Pricing concessions for scheme standpipes are applied where determined necessary through Government’s Water Deficiency Declaration process. Pricing concessions can be utilised through the WDD process to strategically manage distribution for water deficient areas. The objective is to manage the availability of water, not to provide subsidies.

Similarly, the scheme water is being carted for animal welfare purposes after assessment of scheme and non-scheme water availability through the stringent WDD process, and after approval from both the Ministers for Water and Agriculture.’

Effectively, while there is Scheme water available it is difficult, if not impossible, to be determined as water deficient as the relevant agencies (DWER and Water Corporation) believe that water is available and accessible. While this does not take into account the current issues with water being unavailable due to excess load on the Scheme, there remains no way to have the Shire declared water deficient.

What is the Shire putting in place to assist?

At the April Ordinary meeting, Council determined the following actions would be taken:

  • Installation of a 250 kilolitre water tank in Tambellup (location to be determined), with a 40mm main supply;
  • Installation of a 250 kilolitre water tank in Broomehill (location to be determined), with a 50mm main supply;
  • Installation of a 110 kilolitre tank at Broomehill Town Dam with 20mm main supply, to provide water at the lesser charge;
  • Reline existing 90 kilolitre tank at Donald Street and connect to 25mm main supply, to provide water at the lesser charge. This will be completed once new 250 kilolitre tank is installed.

These projects are to be funded by a reallocation of funds from other capital projects in this year’s budget and will be commenced in the near future.  The funds available do not allow for standpipe controllers to be installed this financial year – this will be completed in 2020-2021. Projects that have been postponed will be reconsidered during 2020-2021 budget deliberations.

Other actions include:

  • Shire staff to seek advice from the Water Corporation on the Impact of drawing 300,000 litres a day of water on pressure and flow rates on Tambellup water supply;
  • Council will request that the Water Corporation install a standpipe at the corner of Broomehill-Gnowangerup and Pallinup Roads on the 200mm water main to provide water to water deficient areas to reduce the impact on water supply in Broomehill and Tambellup;
  • Council will commence monitoring use of the Andersons Bores to determine the volumes of water being drawn from these bores.

While it is acknowledged these actions may not be implemented in time for this current dry season, all actions assist in securing water supply for landowners in our Shire. Also - with the Katanning fire in our not-so-distant memory, an increased number of water supply points with better capacity and flow rates will benefit our emergency services in the event we are faced with an incident on that scale.

If you require more information or clarification of any matter presented, please contact the CEO on 0423 636272.

Cr Mark Paganoni

Shire President

28 April 2020

Back to All Items