Pool opening despite the drought
Community wellbeing has driven a decision to open Armidale region aquatic centres this summer, during a period of intensified water restrictions for the drought-affected community. Guyra Swimming Pool will open from Monday September 30th and Monckton Aquatic from Tuesday 8 October to support physical and mental health of the community, Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.
“Residents have had to reduce their water consumption significantly as our region faces the devastating effects of the drought, and Council is investigating all viable options to extend our supply – through our own operations and the community’s activities,” Councillor Murray said. “However, the social and community wellbeing benefits far outweigh the surprisingly minimal water needed to run the facilities.
“The aquatic centres provide numerous social, cultural and health benefits for our community. They are particularly needed during the pressures of the drought and especially throughout the warmer months when residents will be looking for ways to cool down.”
He said it was important Council continues to provide the community with as much normality as possible and the aquatic centres offer endless hours of entertainment for minimal costs. Opening the facilities also provides a safe swimming environment.
“We are very conscious that if the pools are not open, young people and other residents are more likely to choose to swim in natural bodies of water without qualified lifeguards,” Cr Murray said.
Council has conducted a full water audit of Monckton Aquatic Centre and Guyra Swimming Pool to identify where water use can be minimised. Fifteen-second push timer tapware have been implemented in all showers at Monckton Aquatic Centre, as well as new water saving tapware and dual-flush toilets.
“Filling and maintaining water levels in the pools is actually not a major water use, relative to our communities total water use, and much of that water can be recycled after the season ends,” he said. “However, there are other water uses at the facilities, such as showers and toilets, where consumption can be curbed without detracting from the social and health benefits of the facilities.”