ORANGE has just as much right as its less water-conscious sister cities Bathurst and Dubbo to take water from the Macquarie River, business owner Kate Gray says.
Currently Orange remains on level two restrictions despite all water sources being at 100 per cent capacity, while Bathurst and Dubbo residents can use as much water as they like.
“Bathurst don’t have and didn’t have any water restrictions even when we were on level five,” Mrs Gray said.
“In a drought you need to have water restrictions but you need to have it fairly distributed.”
Mrs Gray’s said it was unfair Orange was being held to ransom by member for Bathurst Paul Toole and member for Dubbo Troy Grant who both wrote submissions opposing the Macquarie pipeline.
While she is yet to be sold on the pipeline, Mrs Gray said Orange was equally entitled to funding from the state and federal government for a water solution just as much as the other cities and should also be able to access the river if necessary as it was part of the same catchment.
“I don’t think we should lose the money just because we’re not going to proceed with the pipeline,” she said.
She said the rhetoric from Mr Toole and Mr Grant did not ring true.
“We use far less water per resident than Bathurst or Dubbo,” she said.
“We’ve been very prudent and I don’t think we should be penalised.
“We’ve proven with our rainwater harvesting what a great responsibility we have to water saving.”
As a business owner for 30 years Mrs Gray said it was difficult to try and attract people to Orange if the three cities were not on a level playing field.
“If you trying to attract people to your town, you want it to look the best you can,” she said.
She said utilities like water should be managed by a body that did not have a pecuniary interest and should be taken out of the hands of councils.
“It should be a fair and equitable system managed unilaterally rather than shire by shire,” she said.
Mrs Gray said she felt raising the wall of Suma Park Dam was a priority.
“I don’t believe the Macquarie pipeline is the answer, the environmental concerns and the impact on landholders is something I need to be convinced about.”