Ensuring there is enough water for future generations, Water Security, has emerged as the primary issue MidCoast Water needs to address in their current Our Water Our Future strategy review.
Other issues that were ranked highly included how to sustainably dispose of treated sewage, the impacts of climate change, protection of the environment and ensuring safe quality drinking water.
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 asked the community, and a range of stakeholders, what they value most about water.
The question ‘Water, how do you value it?’ was asked of the community through social media channels, a community survey and displays at local libraries and community events.
“We then took this question to our first project reference group meeting,” acting general manager Brendan Guiney said.
The project reference 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, oyster growers, local councils and a high school student sat alongside representatives from the EPA, NSW Department of Health, NSW Office of Water and our own staff to thrash out some of the issues.”
The group spent several hours looking at how they, from their various perspectives, value water – and the end result supported the findings from the community.
“Water security – and our role in ensuring there is enough good quality, accessible water for future generations came out as the number one issue for both strands of our engagement process,” Mr Guiney said.
Now MidCoast Water moves into the second phase of the review, looking at the options available to deliver water security for the future.
Options being discussed and investigated include, but are not limited to, things such as building new dams, investigating desalination and looking at how we can better utilise highly treated recycled water.
“These are just some of the ideas on the table – and there are a range of issues we want to hear community opinions on.”
To gather these opinions MidCoast Water is running an online survey, and all members of the community are encouraged to have their say.
The survey has three main themes – how to provide water in the future, water restrictions and how they should be used and the sustainable management of recycled water.
“With some interesting ideas, we are hoping our community will want to be part of the conversation,” Mr Guiney said.
To take part go to www.midcoastwater.com.au and follow the survey links.