Brewarrina Shire Council in north-western NSW installed a reverse-osmosis water refilling station for residents in January, as prolonged drought conditions have affected the quality of town drinking water sourced from the Barwon River.
The town’s filtered water supply is still safe to consume anduse for all other domestic household purposes including showering and bathing, but its taste has deteriorated, and many locals have turned to buying bottled water.
The free water station, which is in the Visitor Centre car park and available 24/7, is on loan from Tenterfield Shire Council while Brewarrina’s desal unit is constructed. Rural Aid donated the equipment to Tenterfield after the area had no rain for two years and was facing its own water supply ‘day zero’.
The mobile plant can process 70,000 litres of drinking water per day. Its filtration system removes salt content to make the water more palatable for drinking.
“Council has been working closely with NSW DPIE Water and the Minister’s office since October 2019 to install an alternate drinking water refill station that allows residents and visitors access water that is much more palatable,” said BSC General Manager, Jeff Sowiak.
“The town’s water supply is still sent to the Department of Analytical Laboratories in Sydney for testing weekly and to date has had no non-compliant samples of both the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the NSW Health requirements. Council will continue is strict water sampling regime under its Water Quality Management Plan and applied systems and controls.”