ORANGE City Council has answered critics of its fees and charges in one area at least by receiving a glowing report card for its water supply service.
While the city’s general rates are high it has a stamp of approval from the state government for the quality and all-important price of its water.
In an age of benchmarking and endless comparisons of local government services, Orange has emerged as the cheapest supplier of water to centres of 10,000 households or more.
The result will surprise many people who open their quarterly water notice and wince at the prospect of paying another bill.
The results of the latest statewide water report show that residents are in fact paying less than consumers in other comparable cities.
And the quality of the water coming out of the kitchen tap is second to none.
The water quality is consistently good and, not surprisingly, the level of complaints are very low.
Government data showed that Orange council received only 1.6 complaints per 1000 properties compared to Bathurst Regional Council which in the same period recorded 35.
Bathurst residents’ complaints can be traced to older parts of the city where ageing infrastructure has led to persistent and severe problems with discolouration. It is working to improve the network.
In Orange the council can say with justification its water charges are not high and the increased charges proposed this year to maintain water infrastructure will ensure it avoids problems with water quality Bathurst has experienced.
Other interesting aspects of the annual water report were the low household consumption figures as a result of modest water restrictions and a very high rate of recycling waste water.
Coming a week after Orange hosted a major water conference where its water was a finalist in the state taste test, this result is reason for staff working in the water supply area to toast their achievements with something a little stronger than their own top drop.