TAMWORTH Regional Council will mull over a raft of drought relief measures for its farmers with a report highlighting a number of possible initiatives.
It comes nearly a month after councillor Juanita Wilson asked council to investigate practical measures to help farmers battling the drought.
The general manager’s report includes six options with a focus on easing access to treated water.
One option could see council provide free water to farmers from the water refill station recently installed at the SES car park in Lockheed Street.
Similar schemes have been introduced in Bathurst and Dubbo, but Paul Bennett’s report has highlighted a number of potential issues with the scheme.
“The filling station in Lockheed Street is very well utilised at present, with staff receiving regular complaints about the queue to access water and how this queue is impacting on businesses that rely on access to this station for water,” the report said.
“The cost of new filling stations is estimated at $40,000 per station.
“Whilst new stations would probably be well utilised during the present drought, when the drought ends they would not be and council would essentially have a stranded asset, which would not recover the cost, through sales of water, for renewal or replacement over the life of individual stations.”
The report also considered making bulk water available through standpipe hydrants in each of the council’s towns.
Also, offering a partial refund on on water carting charges was put forward.
A cash donation from council’s water fund to the R U Aware, We Care drive was also suggested.
There were a number of waste initiatives mooted, including the free disposal of bulker bags and lucerne bale wraps.
It also suggested opening council facilities for farmers, with staff willing to volunteer their time.
“Council has facilities across the region that could be opened to allow drought affected families access to hot showers with ample water,” the report said.
“For example, we could open the Tamworth City Pool for a few hours on a couple of days each week and provide access to the amenities.”
While council could approve any of the options when it meets on Tuesday night, more avenues of assiatince could be explored in the future.
Councillors have been invited to put forward any ideas with staff willing to explore any suggestions to determine associated costs and feasibility.
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