Ulong’s mountain residents left feeling high and dry due to lack of water cartage

The new 10,000 litre water truck from Blaize Earthworks in Karangi, visiting Ulong’s thirsty community, is ready to assist residents of Eastern Dorrigo as well as other local communities.

ULONG residents have been left feeling high and dry as the early start to summer, combined with a dry winter and drier spring, has led to many locals on the mountain running very low or being totally out of water and finding it difficult to access.

Carol Cleary, owner of Ulong General Store, told News Of The Area, “This sudden demand on our water carriers by not only the residents of Ulong and Lowanna, but by all the rural villages within the Coffs Harbour shire, has meant that waiting times have blown out to record limits, especially for the residents of the Eastern Dorrigo region.”

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Last week Carol had a continual stream of phone calls from desperate people who had rung every water carrier around, only to be told that they do not service the mountain or that they had to wait over six weeks for service.

“We were either too far east for some carriers or too far west for others.

“Combine this with our new residents to the area, many from areas with town water, meant the villages were getting into very disastrous situations,” said Carol.

“In an attempt to get some assistance for our residents and to try and explain why Council was unable to assist, I hit the phones and social media asking for help trying to obtain some relief for those in desperate need.

“I was so appreciative when Michael, from Dorrigo, offered to bring a tanker of fresh, clean drinking water to the Ulong Oval for residents to fill 1000 litre pods as well as help others with refills.

“Likewise, Blaize from Karangi, answered our immediate call and offered support.”

The Ulong residents have now been informed of other carriers who have said that they too will travel up the mountain with water refills.

“A huge thankyou to all,” said Carol.

“With our villages being prone to bushfires, it is a very terrifying time for having no back-up water supply.

“I have written to Mr Gurmesh Singh MP to see if our State Government would also consider subsidising water tanks as they have done with solar systems, to assist in sustainability of rural areas.”

A spokesperson for the office of the Minister for Water told News Of The Area that while the NSW does not currently subsidise private water carting, it can provide funding and technical support to local councils and local water utilities during emergency situations.

“The operation of approved water filling stations to access town water supply is a matter for councils and we encourage residents to raise any operational issues directly,” the spokesperson said.

“Bellingen Council have advised the Dorrigo filling station is operational.

“City of Coffs Harbour Council have advised while the Nana Glen filling station is currently not operational, there is an operational filling station located at Coramba.

“The Karangi Dam and Shannon Creek Dam supply the majority of the Coffs Harbour region with water and are well placed currently with Karingi sitting at 86.6 percent capacity and Shannon Creek sitting at 97.7 percent capacity.”

NSW Minister for Water Rose Jackson, who is also the Minister for the North Coast, told NOTA she is “deeply concerned by deteriorating conditions across the state”.

“With El Niño now declared we know there are many hard months ahead,” Ms Jackson said.

“I am working closely with all my water agencies to ensure the NSW Government has in place programs and support for NSW communities that are facing water shortages.”

Ms Jackson also suggested that the former coalition had failed to prepare the state to face looming drought conditions.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to be done.

“We will work hand in hand with councils and local water utilities to ensure we can find the best ways to improve water security across the Coffs region.”


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