New card system for water filling stations
A new verification and payment process is proposed for two water filling stations established to help rural households during the drought.
The altered system is designed to ensure the facilities are used responsibly and by the people they are intended to assist.
The decision to introduce the new system follows reported abuse of the system by people other than the rural residents they were implemented to assist. That included water carters who had been transporting the water outside the Armidale Region.
At last week’s meeting of Armidale Regional Council, councillors endorsed the introduction of Water Access Cards (WACs) for the filling stations which are situated at the Armidale Arboretum in Armidale and McKie Parkway in Guyra.
The stations were established in late September to provide emergency domestic supplies for Armidale region properties that are not connected to the town water supplies and have an approved and occupied house.
A report to the meeting said that the move to WACs was necessary to help regulate the amount of town water being removed at the filling stations. Despite action taken by Council to ensure more appropriate use of the service, it remained “vulnerable to abuse”.
Under the proposed new system, the cards will be the only way to access water from the filling stations and will enable targeted residents to verify they meet the criteria. Once they complete an application form to register, the card will provide access to a monthly allocation.
The proposed fees, on public exhibition until November 22nd, include a $100 one-off access fee to obtain a card, and a pre-paid water charge fee of $3.90 per kilolitre. The $3.90 per kilolitre fee is already in place for people currently accessing the filling stations using credit card payments.
While the exhibition period is underway, and until the proposed system is implemented, the operating hours for the filling stations will continue to be limited to 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday, to assist with monitoring to ensure the service is being used appropriately.