Central Coast Council is to look into the feasibility of installing water tanks at discounted rates for pensioners and possibly other low income groups across the region, following a successful motion from Councillor Kyle MacGregor at its October 28 meeting.
Chief Executive Officer, Gary Murphy, is to provide a report to Council within six months. It will consider options such as a temporary reduction in residents’ rates should they chose to install a water tank or water saving mechanisms on their property or to look at Council bulk buying and installing tanks for residents at a reasonable fee.
The move is aimed at encouraging residents to capture and collect water for domestic consumption, thereby reducing the use of Council’s water supply.
The report will outline the potential budgetary impact on Council and suggest other options for reducing the economic burden on low income residents wishing to install water tanks or other water saving measures.
Despite a call from Councillor Greg Best to have the matter referred to the water committee before a report was called for, councillors decided to go with Clr MacGregor’s original motion. Councillor Bruce McLachlan asked how low income tenants would be helped and Councillor MacGregor said that would be in the report when it came back.
The only councillors to vote against the move were Councillors Greg Best, Troy Marquart and Rebecca Gale Collins, with Clr Marquart saying councils should not get involved in bulk buying tanks.
Clr MacGregor said the program should be targeted at those who would benefit the most. “This program is not unusual for our region with both former councils offering different programs during the millennial drought, ” he said. “But where this is different is that we are trying to get ahead of the game here and act locally and proactively before the drought intensifies and our water resources are too severely depleted to counteract it.
“With 97.2 per cent of NSW in drought, our people are expecting governments to act on this threat to our economic security, environment, health and wellbeing, particularly in our own backyard here on the Central Coast. “With the drought increasing in severity across the State and multiple towns and regions almost at zero water day, we need to plan for the future to ensure that our residents and rate payers are safe and secure and our water saving infrastructure is future proofed. ”
Source: Agenda item 8.2 Central Coast Council Meeting, Oct 28 Press Statement Oct 22 Councillor Kyle MacGregor