2017 February: Cobar (NSW) – Colour

Cobar residents unimpressed with water discolouration

Feb 15 2017


The water in Cobar is brown and the residents aren’t happy.

Many community members have taken to social media to voice their disbelief of their brown, sometimes black, town water.

Cobar Shire general manager Peter Vlatko said while the colour is undesirable, the water is still drinkable.

“The town has some old pipes in operation made of cast iron and over a period of time there have been rust reactions to the cast iron so we’ve had to up the ante in chemical,” he said.

“Combined with the flooding in the Bogan River and what we do at our end reacts to the cast iron as well as more people using the water with the recent hot weather.”

Cobar resident Mere Brands said she noticed the water when she was washing her hands.

“I went to wash my hands and I’ve seen that the water was so dirty I was unable to do my washing,” she said.

The issue is in six kilometres of galvanised pipes in the township of Cobar.

Mr Vlatko said the water has always been coloured, but it has been accentuated in the repeated flooding the river last year and the extreme hot weather, thus increased usage of the water in town.

The council has implemented water restrictions to ease the usage of the pipes.

I went to wash my hands and I’ve seen that the water was so dirty I was unable to do my washing,

Mere Brand, Cobar resident.

“Today’s (Wednesday’s) water is crystal clear. Or you might have brown water and your neighbours might be okay,” he said.

“This is not a five minute job, significant work needs to be done, we can’t have pipes delivering this coloured water.”

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries met with Cobar mayor Lillian Brady last week to discuss the issue.

“Cobar Shire are on top of the issue, they have been testing the water regularly and are confident that the issue is discolouration of the pies and the water is in line with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Mr Humphries said.

“Council is working with NSW Public Works and DPI Water to scope up a program of works and a project plan and hopefully gain the support of Infrastructure NSW.

“I will continue to liaise with Lilliane and we’ll work out the best way forward. Unfortunately it won’t be a quick fix though.”