QUIRINDI has been given a $120,000 gift – but it’s what that could mean for the future that is truly exciting, the Liverpool Plains’ leaders say.
The donation of a portable water desalination unit was “really quite humbling”, mayor Andrew Hope said.
The reverse osmosis unit has been installed on the council bore at the airport, but the aim is to roll out the technology as well as put the byproduct to good use, he said.
“Our trials will look at monitoring the quality of the water ... and making sure it’s suitable for potable water – we don't have many doubts it will,” Cr Hope said.
“The long-term vision, if it’s successful and does everything it needs to, is to put it in one of our villages to improve the quality of town water supply; Spring Ridge, for instance.”
The unit was a gift from the shire’s sister city of Blacktown, sponsored by the Greater Blacktown Business Chamber and paid for by the Kids West foundation.
Shire council general manager Ron Van Katwyk said it was capable of desalinating up to 75,000L of water per day.
It will be available for stock and domestic use by arrangement with the council, to people whose water quality or quantity may be lacking.
Testing, an extra unit and a vehicle to move it would take years and “something in the order of a couple of hundred thousand” dollars, Mr Van Katwyk said.
But it could mean better water across the shire in this drought, he said, as “all the aquifers are being tested and groundwater levels are diminishing, but everyone is still surviving at the moment”.
Cr Hope said: “All our town water supplies and village supplies are monitored very closely for quality.”
“We’re managing to treat them to drinkable quality, although you always want to do better than you are.
“Some of it is discoloured – still safe but not very appealing … our water guys have been run off their feet taking care of things.”
A smaller unit could even be moved from property to property to top up drinking-water tanks, he said.
The brine byproduct could be used in dust suppression and roadworks; that and the town-supply idea would need to be approved by the EPA.
“Solving all those problems and raising more money could take two years,” Mr Van Katwyk said.
Werris Creek, Wallabadah and Premer are now on level 1 water restrictions “because the underground supplies are looking stressed”, Cr Hope said.
Meanwhile, Quipolly Dam, the main source for Werris Creek, was “struggling a bit” with inversions, which had brought up minerals from the bottom of the dam, creating an extra challenge in treating the water.
The donation is the latest in a growing list of benevolence from Blacktown City Council, the Greater Blacktown Business Chamber and Kids West.
Before Christmas, they came to town to provide Christmas gifts to local children.
Kids West chief executive officer and Greater Blacktown Business Chamber president Trevor Oldfield said there might not be benefits to the city cousins, but such acts helped stop “this divide between city and country”.
“I don’t think enough people in the city realise just how important it is … we’ve got to get closer and understand the needs, and appreciate the differences and how we can come together to solve issues.”