Bourke Council’s Shane Hopley inspecting artesian bore water flowing from Walkdens Bore Photo TWH
The struggle to continue to provide fresh, clean drinking water to Bourke during the drought has not been easy, with council sinking new bores, building new pipelines, pumping water downstream, and treating for water quality as supplies dwindle.
Council has adopted a proactive approach managing water supply, and has had the assistance of various state government agencies.
Now it seems Bourke Council may be required to install desalination equipment to manage sodium levels should the town need to resort to total reliance on bore water again.
Due to a recent fortuitous flow down the Darling, Bourke is currently using treated river water, but it seems inevitable there will be a return to bore water as the drought continues.
As well as the possible installation of a desalination plant, Council has also secured funding to install another pipeline to increase town water supply if river supplies dry up.
General Manager Ross Earl said Council was preparing for the ‘worst case scenario’ by installing infrastructure that would deal with critical situations in the longer term. The potential installation of a desalination plant, additional bores and installing the pipeline were all part of an overall strategy to drought proof Bourke.
He said the aim was to have 2.5 megalitres per day of filtered water available to meet the needs of Bourke and North Bourke townships. Walkdens and Stoney Rise artesian bores will provide most of this, and Council has received funding for the new pipeline to back up the existing main when the bores are at capacity and the town is totally reliant on bore water.
Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.