New bores a feasible option
New bores drilled into the Sue Coals Measure are shaping up as the most feasible option to deliver a non-potable water scheme to Dunsborough.
But the plan does not involve servicing sites closer to the coastline like Dunsborough Primary School, which is currently forced to irrigate with drinking-quality water and has racked up an $84,000 water bill for the year so far.
It is also unlikely to be implemented until the mid 2020s, and will probably have the City of Busselton — and, in turn, ratepayers — as its sole customer, at least initially.
City of Busselton planning and development services director Paul Needham has been charged with investigating a range of options, including new bores, the use of treated wastewater, and taking over Water Corporation bores.
He said the need for non-potable water was once urgent, with the Dunsborough Lakes Golf Course having no access to non-potable water and the City gearing up to construct another oval.
However, after the developer of Dunsborough Lakes Urban Quarter transferred a “substantial allocation” of water to the club, also allowing the City access, Mr Needham said the sense of urgency had “fallen away”.
“It was genuinely urgent about 12 to 18 months ago, but that was subject to Urban Quarter and the golf course finalising this deal,” he said.
While acknowledging the plight of places like the Dunsborough Country Club, Mr Needham said the scheme’s benefits had to stack up against the cost, and stressed discussions were under way on how sites closer to the coast could be supported.
“It doesn’t make sense to get water up the hill to the country club or Dunsborough Primary School,” he said.
“There’s just not enough of a saving in the cost of water to justify doing it.
“There are potentially some other options for water at the country club and the City has been having discussions on that.”
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam recently presented a grievance motion to Water Minister Dave Kelly.
She took aim at the Government’s rejection of a proposal that involved Busselton Water supplying a non-potable scheme, but Mr Kelly said the plan would have cost taxpayers too much.
On scrapping the plan, the minister directed a group investigating water supply issues to make Dunsborough its priority.
Ms Mettam said she had reservations about the new bores planned for the Sue Coals Measure.
“The new plan as I understand it would require boring new bores into low-yielding local aquifers and new infrastructure to transport this water yet bring no change to the current extensive and expensive treatment of water going to Dunsborough residents for consumption,” she said.
“This is a short-term solution and does not address the longer term issue of a non-potable water supply to the country club or the existing primary schools.”
One of the other preferred options was the use of treated wastewater currently being discharged to Station Gully over winter.
But Mr Needham said that would mean restricting access to areas for several hours after being irrigated, which was not feasible for public spaces.
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