By Jeremy Sollars
Southern Downs councillors at their December meeting this week voted unanimously in favour of cutting off the non-potable water supply to the village of Karara west of Warwick – at a cost to ratepayers of close to $100,000.
The move was first flagged early in 2018 with the council adamant the water from Canal Creek is a health risk if used for drinking and cooking, despite residents being equally adamant they have only ever used it for washing clothes and vehicles, watering gardens and flushing toilets.
Residents had suggested that the installation of a floating foot-valve in Canal Creek would improve the quality of the water, reducing the amount of silt and debris but their suggestion – and their protests – have been ignored.
Councillors appeared to have dithered on making a final decision on Karara’s water supply since holding a public meeting with residents in July.
But at the December meeting held in Warwick last Wednesday 12 December the fate of the water supply was sealed, another kick in the guts for the small community which just weeks ago came close to being devastated by a bushfire.
In exchange for the Canal Creek supply the council will offer each of the village’s residences a 5000 rainwater tank, the installation of which the council will pay for.
Councillors last week voted to approve an “operational budget allocation of $99,610 which will allow 11 property owners to engage a plumbing contractor to complete the installation of a 5000 gallon tank and organise the first fill of potable water for all tanks,” the meeting minutes stated.
“The Karara Tavern and Motel will be provided with an additional 3 x 5,000 gallon rainwater tanks.”
The council will receive and approve each quote prior to installation of the tanks and will pay the contractors directly.
The council-owned water supply infrastructure from Canal Creek will then be donated to the Karara Rural Fire Service.
No timeframe has yet been given for the process.