A POSSIBLE solution to West Wimmera shire’s lack of treated drinking water is underway.
West Wimmera Shire councillor Trevor Domaschenz said Edenhope was the only town within the shire to have access to treated drinking water.
He said preparation of a business case was underway, which would bring water to the towns via a pipeline.
“(The pipeline will run) from Rocklands through some of the Horsham Rural City to the southern parts of the West Wimmera and northern parts of the Southern Grampians shires,” he said.
“The proposed pipeline has the potential to service farmers, towns, new and existing industry and service the recreational and environmental needs in a very large area with no permanent water.”
Cr Domaschenz said while residents of Edenhope had access to drinking water, the quality was poor.
“It is created from treated bore water, which is quite salty,” he said.
“All the townspeople have water to drink subject to each household owning private rainwater tanks – not from a potable drinking water treatment plant, except in Edenhope, where I have been told that some residents still prefer rainwater due to the unfavourable taste of the drinking supply.”
Cr Domaschenz said rectifying the problem was not simple.
But he said supplying safe drinking water would benefit all residents, households and businesses.
“We are liaising with the water authority, who are ultimately responsible for this resource,” he said.
“We are, however, very keen to stop the gap widening between West Wimmera residents and those on piped supplies in other areas of the state.
“Our residents pay levies in their water rates, and we want to make sure they have access to a fair share of water.”
GWMWater spokesman Andrew Rose said the business case was similar to a pipeline under construction into south-west Loddon, near Bendigo.
Mr Rose said the business plan proposed the pipeline service a large majority of land in the West Wimmera shire and would improve the quality of the bore water.
“Twenty years ago, the only treatment plant was the one in Horsham and come October after the Mallee Towns Project is completed, there will be 32 towns with treated drinking water,” he said.
“90.68 per cent of urban customers receive a drinking supply and this will increase to 91.86 per cent after October.”
Kaniva is the largest town in the Wimmera and Mallee that doesn’t have access to treated drinking water.