Turner has concerns delayed hearing is water down the drain

DISAPPOINTED: Orange City councillor Russell Turner.

DISAPPOINTED: Orange City councillor Russell Turner.

ORANGE City Council is still not making the most of its stormwater run-off, with its harvesting scheme still awaiting final approval.

A Land Board hearing was due to take place this week, but has been delayed until August because more information was expected in the coming months.

A council spokesman said the Office of Water was considering turning the results of a study on river flows into licensing conditions and the design for the raised dam wall would be completed by then.

Councillor Russell Turner raised concerns about the delay in March and on Monday, he said he hoped there was good reason to postpone the hearing.

“Honestly, I can’t see any valid reason why it has been delayed, I would hope they’re genuine concerns,” he said.

“It’s a bit disappointing given we were one of the first in NSW to do this and other councils are taking that on board and gathering their stormwater.

“We’ve shown it can work and that it’s acceptable to the community.”

Cr Turner said the scheme was a priority for Orange.

“We want to drought-proof our city, not run out of water like we almost did a couple of years ago,” he said.

“Who knows, we might have rain next week that we can’t have captured.”

The Blackmans Swamp scheme can only operate when Suma Park Dam is at 50 per cent, but the council wants to operate it at any level.

The Ploughman’s Creek scheme can be used at any time, but not easily because the two are connected.

Six downstream users of the river objected to the scheme operating outside emergency conditions, saying it could have a detrimental effect on the environment.

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