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Council

Free rural water carting on the cards

16 October 2020

Free carting for potable water will soon be available to rural residents not connected to the reticulated water supply network after Southern Downs Regional Council endorsed guidelines for its delivery at the Ordinary Meeting on Wednesday 14 October.

Under the Australian Government’s Extension to the Drought Communities Programme, Council has allocated $200,000 to cart water to rural residents, with the cost of the water to be the responsibility of the resident.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said Council had long been reviewing options to assist rural residents significantly impacted by the ongoing drought, and free water carting would offer a welcomed helping hand.

“Council understands that our rural residents continue to battle the effects of severe drought conditions,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“We secured funding from the Australian Government to ease the burden with drought relief and will funnel a proportion of this into relief through free water carting.

“We expect that this program will be embraced by the rural community with the possibility of over-subscription. To ensure this funding is equitably distributed, carting will be available through an Expression of Interest process.

“To avoid disappointment, I really encourage everyone to submit their application early and not wait until the last day or the day after the Expression of Interest has closed. Anyone with questions about the process should contact Council for more information.

“As our region is still drought declared, residents should keep in mind that there are other agencies and organisations that may be able to assist or subsidise the cost of the water.

“Council will continue to explore all funding avenues to support our community during these tough times.”

Program eligibility is subject to the following criteria:

·         Applicants must apply through an Expression of Interest program.

·         Cartage will be capped at one delivery for a maximum of 22,500L per property for potable water.

·         Recipients cannot access reticulated water from Council’s system for three months following the delivery.

Based on average water carting costs, it is envisaged that approximately 550 loads would be available through the program.

Council secured a total of $1m under this round of Australian Government funding, of which $600,000 was distributed into community infrastructure projects and $200,000 into shade structure at Council parks. These projects are currently underway.

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