3 May 2021

Honest water advice offered to Bega's rural residents

| Lottie Twyford
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Council employees working on water mains

Water supply issues are significantly different for residents connected to a trunk main compared to town water. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

More than 600 residents in the Bega Valley Shire who are connected to a water trunk main are being made aware of the problems this can pose.

Launched by Bega Valley Shire Council, the #TrunkLife campaign has kicked off by painting an honest picture of the problems trunk mains can pose, and how customers can remedy them.

Council’s manager of water and sewerage services, Chris Best, said the #TrunkLife campaign is about helping people living out of town to get a safe and reliable water supply.

He said customers who live in rural areas experience a very different water supply to people who are accustomed to town water.

According to Mr Best, trunk mains are not designed for delivering water directly to taps. Instead, they are networks of large pipelines intended to transport water from source to reservoir, or to a storage plant.

“This means if you are connected to a trunk main that pulls water from a creek, you are getting untreated water pumped to your home,” he said. “Unlike water that has been through a treatment plant, this water is not always safe to drink.

“We have lots of customers from Tantawangalo to Wolumla, and some near Kiah and Tilba receiving raw creek water through their taps.”

Council reiterated that customers in these areas should already be aware of where their water is coming from, and said it has always been upfront regarding the situation.

“This is not a failure to provide an adequate service for our customers – it’s a consequence of being connected to a part of our network not intended for household water delivery,” said Mr Best.

However, he said it is possible some people are unaware of their trunk main connection.

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That’s why the #TrunkLife campaign is seeing residents being contacted directly to be given advice regarding fixing water pressure or quality issues.

Residents of properties that are connected to a trunk main are reminded they need a small tank and pump, or at least a pressure-reducing valve installed by a plumber.

“If you are connected to a trunk main that draws water directly from an untreated source, you will need to treat your drinking water by bringing it to a rolling boil, or filter and disinfect to remove any potential pathogens,” said Mr Best.

He said while only some trunk main customers need to treat their water, everyone connected to one of these mains will at some point experience an unreliable supply.

“The supply can fluctuate without warning,” said Mr Best. “At best, this can lead to frustratingly slow water flow, and at worst this can mean broken appliances or going without water when you really need it.

The #TrunkLife campaign shows people how to get the most out of their trunk main connection through practical solutions.

Visit the #TrunkLife webpages on Bega Valley Shire Council’s website to learn more about the campaign and read about simple fixes for any water pressure issues you might be experiencing.

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