The upgrade of Gunning’s water supply is flowing along, with a construction contract set to be awarded in February.
Residents had to boil water to drink earlier this year after floods caused the supply to turn a tainted, dirty brown colour.
“There was a lot of concern with the water quality in Gunning. The community just felt it wasn’t good enough,” Luke Moloney from Upper Lachlan Shire Council said.
He said council and the community lobbied to receive $9.7 million in funding to put in a treatment plant, reservoir and pumping station in Gunning and a new water supply for Dalton.
Although Gunning’s treatment plant improvements are underway, the changes for Dalton are still up in the air.
When the funding was announced, Dalton was set to get a reverse osmosis treatment plant, generally used to purify seawater.
Mr Moloney said the problem with reverse osmosis was that the water security issue wouldn’t be addressed.
And he said reverse osmosis was expensive.
“The options we’re talking about are a big capital cost for such a small town like Dalton.”
Council is now considering whether to put in a treatment plant or a 12 kilometre pipeline from Gunning’s upgraded supply.
“The preferred option being that which provides the least life cycle cost, provides the highest level of service and is affordable to the Dalton community,” Upper Lachlan’s general manager John Bell said in a statement.
Some residents are worried the upgrade is linked to the potential construction of a gas-fired power plant near the village.
However, council said the upgrade is necessary to provide a reliable supply that complies with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
“The Dalton town water supply is sourced from two groundwater bores located within the village,” Mr Bell said. “The bore water is of poor quality with elevated salts, hardness and iron levels.”
Dalton’s Chris Morgan questioned whether the village could be self sufficient with tanks. Or if council could upgrade the water quality at residents’ homes instead of at the source.
“I wonder if it would be more economical to install water filters at Dalton homes that are already on town water?” he asked.
Mr Moloney said filters would be something council would look into but it would be unlikely they would revert back to using tank water.
“Once a town water system is put in place it’s difficult… to take it away,” he said.
The options for Dalton will be looked into further once the tenders for Gunning are awarded.
Mr Moloney said once started, the Gunning construction is expected to take around 12 months.