By Jeremy Sollars
Residents of the village of Karara west of Warwick have not given up their fight to retain their council-supplied water and will take their case to the Queensland Ombudsman.
As previously reported, Southern Downs councillors voted in a confidential session at their June general meeting to cut off the water supply to Karara.
No reason was stated in the minutes of the meeting but Mayor Tracy Dobie told a public meeting of residents in late July the council was concerned about health impacts on residents drinking the water, despite them only using it for non-consumption purposes such as flushing toilets and watering gardens.
The council proposes to give each of Karara’s 11 residences a free 5000 gallon water tank and will provide a free once-off fill, and donate Karara’s water system to the local Rural Fire Brigade.
The current system pumps from Canal Creek to an elevated header tank and the water is gravity-fed to local homes, costing residents around $800 each per year.
Karara residents have repeatedly stated that all they wanted the council to do was to install a floating foot valve in Canal Creek to minimise mud and debris in the system.
Resident Kerry Wilson told the Free Times this week due to the drought some residents were using the Canal Creek water for showering and washing clothes, but none were drinking it or using it for kitchen purposes.
She said they had told Cr Dobie they are willing to pay for a restricted flow town water supply from Warwick but the mayor said it would be too expensive to set up.
She also said residents had offered to buy the existing pumping equipment off the council and run the system themselves but the answer was also a “no”.
Cr Dobie conceded after the public meeting that she uses water from a dam on her own property for domestic purposes.
The council has removed charges for the water from the current round of rates bills but is yet to announce a date for the water to be turned off.