The water supply situation in Tenterfield is becoming critical.
The water supply situation in Tenterfield is becoming critical.

Recycled water use on the cards as supply becomes critical

USING recycled water is on the cards for the Tenterfield Shire, as the council looks for new ways to secure its long-term supply of water.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the council said many areas needed to address water issues.

"Without water nothing else matters," the statement reads.

"The amount available can be the difference between celebrations versus commiserations.

"Council will be receiving a report on October 30 in relation to collaborating with the NSW Government to investigate the use of recycled water to further support the long-term secure supply of water to the Tenterfield township.

"Many cities, including London, and whole countries around the world, have been successfully recycling water for decades.

"Further, a great many regional towns around Australia, especially NSW, take water from rivers and dams that towns upstream pump treated sewage water directly into, including Warragamba Dam (Sydney's water supply).

"There are a great many pros and cons which need to be investigated.

"Most relate to technical, financial and current and future environmental circumstances we may face, whilst others relate purely to human emotion.

"Council hopes our new bores will be successful giving us all the water we need.

"However, recent lessons have taught us that it is difficult to rely on a single 'Plan B'."

At the moment, the bore at Shirley Park is supplying 68 per cent of Tenterfield's daily water needs.

The Tenterfield dam is at 26 per cent capacity, but there is up to 2.8m of silt in the base.

"If the bore stopped, the dam water would reach critical levels three times sooner than anticipated," the council explained in its statement.

"Even if the desired quantity of water from our current searches is achieved, it must be sustainable.

"Over 70 per cent of the test bores drilled so far ... have delivered negligible amounts of water.

"Running out of water and needing to transport by truck to a great many NSW towns, including Tenterfield, is extremely problematic.

"It is usual that a drought of this magnitude covers a wide area which would require water to be carted vast distances as surrounding areas would be also suffering water shortages."