‘Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink,’ describes the ironic plight Tweed residents find themselves in as the shire’s major pumping station at Bray Park, near Murwillumbah, remains closed due to electrical faults caused by Wednesday’s storm.
All towns in the Tweed, with the exception of Uki which has its own water supply, have just 48 hours’ water left if the problem is not fixed by today. Major water restrictions are in place across the shire.
Just two days ago Clarrie Hall Dam was on a ‘white alert’ with water rushing two metres over the spillway.
‘A power outage in the Bray Park area overnight [Wednesday] resulted in a surge that damaged the pumping station facility, blowing in excess of 100 fuses,’ Council’s manager water Anthony Burnham said last night.
Employees worked overtime yesterday in an effort to fix the problem, ferrying fuses up from Sydney with the assistance of the SES and installing them, only to find that the motor drive starters of all three massive 600-kilowatt pumps also need replacing.
ABC radio this morning reported that another (unnamed) problem had been identified but that, too, should be rectified by this evening. It requires parts being delivered from Sydney and Mackay, which are on their way.
The water treatment plant is undamaged and is fully operational.
‘The problem is we can’t get the treated water into the distribution system at this point in time,’ Mr Burnham said.
Council is urging residents to do all they can to minimise their water use, taking shorter showers and avoiding using washing machines where possible
Banned outdoor uses include watering the garden, hosing hard surfaces, car washing and filling swimming pools.
If the pumping station is not back on line tonight the council will install a small portable system to pump at a lower flow rate to maintain some water in the system.
This would, however, mean that the ban and potentially further restrictions would have to remain in place for some time, Mr Burnham said.