Group wins water supply war

NIMBIN residents have claimed victory after fighting Lismore City Council’s threat to disconnect drinking water from their properties.

With Gwen Trimble leading the charge, the Nimbin Rural Water Supply Group last month convinced the council to defer a decision on a recommendation to give 79 rural residents the option to disconnect from the water supply.

The recommendation, which would see disconnected properties issued with water tanks, was put forward because the quality of water supplied to these properties is deemed non-potable under soon-to-be-enacted State regulations.

Ms Trimble took the floor during the public access, saying staff had failed to consult the public about the proposal.

Executive director of infrastructure services Garry Hemsworth said the council had sent several letters to residents about the proposed changes, but acknowledged the time line had been short.

Ms Trimble’s plea convinced the council to hold off on its decision.

The group then sought legal advice and contacted Lismore MP Thomas George for more information about the new water requirements.

“The new (State) legislation is intended to improve water quality.

"They were surprised by the council’s response to disconnect us,” Ms Trimble said.

The residents demanded the council find an alternative to the disconnection option.

At a meeting between residents and council staff held in Nimbin on Wednesday, those in attendance were relieved to learn the council had now developed an alternative.

Mr Hemsworth said since the last council meeting it had met with representatives from the State Government, including NSW Health and the Department of Water and Energy to discuss the situation.

As a result of “new information” which came to light during that meeting the council has abandoned its disconnection option.

Council will now develop a long-term strategic investigation which would review water supply to all Nimbin residents currently on town water, as well as the 79 rural properties.