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Increased annual water access charge

By June 28, 2021No Comments

Council has introduced a $196 increase to its annual water access charge from July 1 to help fund major repairs and upgrades to the ageing water infrastructure across the Shire.
The increase of $196 per annum, to be paid in two $98 instalments each year, applies only to ratepayers and businesses who access Council’s reticulated water supply.
Most the Shire’s town water supply networks are at least 50 years old, much of it even older, and components of the pipe network and treatment plants are now approaching the end of their useful life.
About 80km of the pipe network has been identified as being in poor condition and requires urgent replacement. To give this context, if this pipe was laid out along the highway, it would stretch from Mareeba to Gordonvale!
The current replacement cost for the infrastructure is $84.2m. Council’s key water investment priorities include replacing 32km of the most critical ageing pipes over the next 10 years, along with booster pump station upgrades to be completed by 2025.
Council will also conduct critical water treatment plant renewals between 2021 and 2025 and, if successful in obtaining State and Federal government grant funding, will also replace other essential components.
All of this is in addition to replacing and upgrading essential water reservoirs, hydrants, treatment plant components, generators, pumps and other water treatment infrastructure.
In the past six months there have been nearly 30 instances of water pipe breakages and such incidents will become increasingly regular unless the issue is addressed now.
During the next 12 months Council will invest more than $12 million in water infrastructure upgrades and over the next 10 years will have to spend more than $50 million on treatment plants and the water network to maintain the level of service the community expects.
It will then have to spend an additional $185 million on treatment plants and networks over the following 20 years.
This increase only partially addresses the funds that will be required but we are actively seeking State and Federal government funding to ensure most of the repairs and upgrades to the water network can be done without the Shire’s ratepayers having to foot the additional burden.