EFFORTS to revive drought assistance for rural properties around Molong have failed after Cabonne Council voted a second time not to provide free water.
The council voted in August to supply water for free as a drought measure, provided the water was domestic use only, registered parties carted their own water and supplied details on their location, rural enterprise and where they intended to use the water.
But as Molong Dam levels fell from 49 per cent capacity to 45 per cent, the policy was reviewed in March and then April when it was finally discontinued.
The April report to the council said the scheme had cost the council $6,745.60, with 1,088,000 kilolitres of water picked up servicing drought affected properties.
More than a third of the water was supplied in March alone.
This drought is very serious, some places haven't had income for three years.Councillor Ian Davison
"Council's depot staff have advised that water is mainly being accessed by the same land owners and that as drought conditions continue, there has been an increase in the number of enquiries for water for commercial activities and stock purposes," the report said.
"It is now necessary that procedures be put in place to conserve that water resource for town domestic use, and the drought assistance initiative cease forthwith."
Councillor Ian Davison put up a rescission motion to reverse the April decision, saying cancelling the free supply did not send a message the council cared about farmers.
"We're an agricultural-based shire and farmers pay about 50 per cent of our income every year," he said.
"This drought is very serious, some places haven't had income for three years."
Cr Davison said discussions with St Vincent de Paul revealed farmers were starting to rely on the charity to pay school fees, medical bills and mechanical bills.
Councillor Paul Mullins asked how many households were using the measure and was told between five and 10.
"We're taking this water out of the town's water supply, which people on the town water supply are paying for," he said.
"If someone was out of water, empty tank, I know that Rotary, St Vincent de Paul, CWA have given away nearly $8 million in this area alone in the last four months."
The motion was defeated seven councillors to three.
Orange City Council currently charges $3.60 a kilolitre for water from its standpipe at the McLachlan Street depot.
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