'Value for money': report reveals water supply the toast of the town

ORANGE’S water supply is the toast of the town, with new figures showing low rates and high water quality.

Released on Wednesday, the 2012-13 NSW Water Supply and Sewerage Performance Monitoring Report studied the state’s 105 water utilities.

The report found Orange City Council charged households $914 on average for water and sewerage supply, which was the fifth lowest in the state and the lowest of all utilities servicing more than 10,000 households.

But the thrifty charges still represented the highest rate of return in the category.

The report showed 100 per cent of the samples tested were compliant for chemical and microbiological water quality and at 1.6 complaints per 1000 properties, Orange also had less complaints about water quality than most other councils.

The statewide average was four complaints for every 1000 properties, while Bathurst Regional Council logged more than 35.

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Orange mayor John Davis said the result justified the proposed increases in the next budget. 

“It’s important to keep the council funds, which keep our water infrastructure in the black,” he said.

“Orange City Council cops some criticism from time to time about water and sewer charges, but this independent report shows that local ratepayers are getting good value for money.”

Partial water restrictions showed results, with residences using 178 kilolitres a year - the eighth lowest amount for all inland water utilities.

It also experienced fewer water main breaks, with nine breaks for every 100 kilometres of main, compared with a 38-break average across the state.

Orange also recycled more than 1000 megalitres of effluent, the second highest in the state behind Wagga Wagga.

The council has proposed 10 per cent increases to water and sewer rates in the 2014-15 financial year despite an anticipated surplus of more than $160,000.

Last week, Orange came second in the Orica NSW water taste test.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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