Uralla Shire Council Mayor Michael Pearce delivered two messages to residents on Monday morning. Firstly, council was unable to reduce the level of arsenic in its potable water supply, and secondly, residents needed to cut down on their water usage.
"The arsenic level in our dam is not decreasing. We're looking at getting a carbon filtration system worth about $500,000 put in place within the next two weeks," he said.
"So, we're speaking to our local Member Adam Marshall today about getting some funding to get this filtration system put in place, but what I need to say to people out there is that we need to be water wise at the moment.
"We need to be at about 150 consumption litres per person per day. Bottled water will continue for a few weeks further, until the carbon filtration system is in place and things are working adequately."
Cr Pearce said Kentucky Creek Dam was at 33 per cent and had not received any run off from the recent storms. He said Uralla's day zero was due in May, and bringing in bottled water was costing somewhere between $3000 - $5000 per day, so was not a viable solution for the long-term.
Cr Pearce said, with bottled drinking water being supplied, he could not understand why water consumption had not fallen.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said council would be provided with $150,000 worth of emergency funding to investigate and implement a number of strategies it had to extend the life of the water supply of Uralla and Bundarra.
"Council indicated last week that both communities have six months or less of water supply on hand at the current consumption levels. Obviously, the focus of council must be on conserving the water that they have," he said.
"Council's target, like the Guyra and Armidale councils is 150 litres per person per day; at the moment those levels are over 200 litres per person per day.
"That's simply not sustainable, now or in good times. With a quarter of a million bottles of water being trucked in, that figure should be dropping, not increasing."
Mr Marshall said there was a huge need for the community to cooperate with the council to make sure that day zero is avoided.
He said the funding would allow council to drill more test bores in an attempt to find groundwater that would supplement supplies and investigate medium to longer-term options, including water recycling, extending the Kentucky Dam wall.
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