Monarto residents' water woes over

Water woes over

Seventy Monarto residents whose water was due to be disconnected in March have finally secured a long-term supply.

They and several thousand head of livestock had depended on water from a pipeline owned by the Aboriginal Sobriety Group, which decided it could no longer manage the supply earlier this year.

They negotiated a temporary reprieve through local MP Mark Goldsworthy and Water Minister Ian Hunter, but the pipe was still due to run dry on June 30.

The search for an answer continued until this week, when the water users unanimously chose to start a community-run water scheme.

Residents will elect a board of management or similar over the coming months, and will be responsible for reading water meters and having any leaks fixed.

The water they will receive will be untreated and non suited for human consumption – they will have to rely on rainwater for that – but will cost only a couple of thousand dollars per property to connect.

Other options, including SA Water taking over the pipeline, could have cost as much as $300,000 per household.

Thirty-one of the 35 affected property owners voted, all for the least expensive of several proposed solutions.

ocal resident Barry Wilson was relieved at the outcome.

"It's so nice to know we're going to have the water, because it would have been a disaster," he said.

Residents were originally given only a few weeks’ notice that their supply would be cut off, which would have left households, 3000 sheep, 150 horses, 150 goats and household pets high and dry.

The Standard understands the state government will spend almost $450,000 to help get the scheme up and running.

Neither Mr Hunter’s office nor the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources – which has been involved in brokering the solution – was available to comment before this edition went to press.

Private water schemes are not unheard of in the Murraylands.

A dozen Ferries McDonald Road residents are on one; some houses at Riverglades, on Murray Bridge's east side, secure their water directly from the River Murray.

The Coorong and Tatiara councils have also taken an interest in primary producers’ water security in those districts.