Information gained from the community during a six-week long online survey will be incorporated into long term planning for local water supplies.
MidCoast Water, the water and sewer authority for the Manning, Great Lakes and Gloucester areas, has been looking at the options available to deliver water security for the future as part of their Our Water Our Future review.
The Our Water Our Future Strategy is MidCoast Water’s 30 year rolling plan and outlines how the organisation will work to manage water resources for generations to come.
The first phase of the strategy review (earlier this year) asked the community, and a range of stakeholders, what they value most about water. The second phase, which wrapped up recently – asked the community about three main themes via an online survey.
“The survey looked at how to provide water in the future, water restrictions and how they should be used and the sustainable management of recycled water,” acting general manager Darryl Hancock explained.
Mr Hancock explained that the survey feedback was presented to the strategy review’s second project reference group meeting.
“This group drew representatives from all over the MidCoast Water service area from a range of stakeholder groups.
“We had a range of participants. Representatives from the community, chambers of commerce, local councils and a high school student sat alongside representatives from the EPA, NSW Department of Health, DPI Water and our own staff to work through options.”
The group spent several hours looking at how they, from their various perspectives, feel the issues of supplying water into the future can be addressed and the options to move forward with.
When looking at water security our community saw stormwater harvesting, new offstream dams, indirect potable reuse (recharging aquifers or river upstream of drinking water offtakes with cleaned waste water) and rainwater tanks as the most popular options for the future, Mr Hancock explained.
Over 95 per cent of respondents indicated waste water is a resource they would like to see used in some way – primarily through park irrigation, use of greywater, third pipe and indirect potable reuse options.
When it came to how MidCoast Water should work to encourage water saving, the survey investigated feelings on water restrictions, paying more for water and working with high water users.
“More than half of respondents indicated they expected more water restrictions, and 40 per cent felt the frequency with which we currently have restrictions is about right – so this is all information we will take into account as we combine the sentiments of the community with the feelings of the project reference group to establish a framework for moving into the future.
Now MidCoast Water moves into the third phase of the review, looking at the most feasible and popular options, grouping them to generate a series of scenarios for each of the areas they service. At this stage the community will again be asked their preferences.
To see some of the results of the survey go to www.midcoastwater.com.au/ourwaterourfuture