2018 June: Karara (Queensland) – Turbidity

Town in drought told water supply will be cut in months


28 June 2018

DRY, “desperate” and begging for relief, a Southern Downs town has just been told a vital resource will be ripped away by the end of the year.

Caught in one of one of the worst droughts the town has seen, Karara residents have been told their water supply will be cut off by the end of the year after a decision made in a confidential council meeting on Wednesday morning.

The news, delivered by phone that afternoon, has “shocked” the townspeople of Karara.

“We need this water,” resident Tracey Long said. “We are desperate out here.”

A spokeswoman for Southern Downs Regional Council said the decision had been made to give 11 affected residents a 22,000 litre tank and a one-off fill of drinkable water when the mains connection was removed.

But with rainwater stocks in the region completely depleted, the supply of non-potable water from Canal Creek has become a lifeline for residents.

“I can tell you what, 5000 gallons isn’t going to last us long,” Kerry Wilson said.

With absolutely no water in her five rainwater tanks, Ms Wilson has resorted to buying all her drinking water in bottles from the supermarket.

She is forced to rely on town water for everything else like showering and washing clothes, despite its “dirty” and “disgusting” quality.

Ms Long said some added chlorine to their water to kill the smell.

But cutting off the town water was not the right solution, she said.

“The foot valve that sucks the water up the pipe is sitting on the bottom of Canal Creek and brings up mud and dirty water,” she said.

Residents have asked council to install a floating valve that would pump cleaner water from the surface of the creek.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said the decision to cut off the water arose from consultation with the Karara community.

“Council heard the concerns of Karara residents and worked with them to provide an alternative water supply,” she said.

“Rather than continue with a problematic water supply which is not suitable for domestic use, we have opted to provide those residents connected to the current supply with a tank and a first fill of water at no initial or ongoing cost.”

But many said the cut-off has come out of the blue.

“There was no consultation, we just wish they would have told us they were having this meeting,” Ms Long said.

“We’re a little community that is a long way from Warwick and we are easily forgotten about – if they know about us in the first place.”

Ms Wilson said a council officer had to “google where Karara was” when speaking with her on the phone.

“We have a school out here, remember? Where are they going to get all their water from?”

“We will be demanding a meeting with the mayor and the CEO and no one else,” Ms Wilson.