EVERY year, just before summer, Attunga resident Matt Sheedy has to clear out the calcium from the pump of his air conditioner, or it won’t work.
In the time he’s lived in Attunga, the father-of-four has had to replace two hot water systems and an air conditioner, because the town’s calcium-filled water has destroyed them.
Mr Sheedy said the unnecessary financial strain was one faced by just about all of the village’s roughly hundred families.
Local plumbing services suggest the problem could be drastically improved through the installation of an $8000 CalClear system at the source of the town’s water. However, Tamworth Regional Council has dismissed the idea, as the water is safe to drink and does not exceed the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
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“They keep saying it’s OK to drink, but that’s not the problem that people are worrying about,” Mr Sheedy said.
“I replace a tap washer every month. There is always at least a tap somewhere in the house you’d be replacing.
“And if it’s not damaging the washer, it damages the tap. If it’s left dripping, when you take it apart to repair it, the tap is completely buggered and you can’t fix it, you’ve got to replace the whole thing.”
Mr Sheedy said it felt like council “wasn’t interested in helping out the little villages”.
I think council’s got long pockets and short arms.Dick Ranclaud
Council’s water director Bruce Logan said the hardness of water was not a new issue, and one that is face by most council’s in regional Australia.
“Systems that promise to help are very costly, and would result in a significant investment of ratepayers funds – something that has previously not proven cost effective,” Mr Logan said.
Mr Sheedy’s grandfather, Dick Randclaud, who lives a couple of doors down, has been forced to sleep outside in summer, because the hard water broke his evaporative air conditioner. His taps don’t move and his hot water system also broke.
“I think council’s got long pockets and short arms,” Mr Ranclaud said.
“It’s not about whether you can drink the water, it’s about how much it cost you to replace your air conditioner or hot water system because the water broke it.”
Mr Logan said council has “clearly demonstrated” its commitment to the water needs of towns outside of Tamworth, pointing to the $5m council spent on Barraba’s pipeline to Split Rock Dam, Nundle’s $2.4m water treatment plant, Bendemeer’s $200,000 emergency water supply and an estimated $15m for Manilla’s new water treatment plant.