Hunter Water is contacting customers near Dungog, NSW who draw water directly from the Chichester Trunk Gravity Main (CTGM) to remind them that they need to have a second source of water.
Hunter Water requires the 71 properties to renew their water contracts in order to avoid disruptions to their supply.
Hunter Water are trying to avoid a repeat of an incident in 2015 where the region was hit with a storm and dozens of properties were left without water as they were entirely reliant on Hunter Water for their supply.
Some properties north and south of Dungog receive water directly from the CTGM under a ‘non-standard agreement’ with Hunter Water, where water is sold at a discounted rate in recognition that supply isn’t guaranteed and water upstream of Dungog Treatment Plant is untreated.
During the 2015 storm a 50 metre section of the CTGM washed away, which meant the entire pipeline had to be shut down for three weeks while it was repaired.
Although some of the non-standard CTGM customers had rainwater tanks in place, many properties didn’t and required Hunter Water to deliver crates of bottled water.
Hunter Water Interim CEO Jeremy Bath said, “Hunter Water writes to its non-standard customers on the CTGM annually as a reminder that they need to have a second source of water rather than relying only on the pipeline.
“These agreements however in many cases have been in place for generations, so it’s important they are renewed and current property owners aware of the details.”
Built in 1926, the CTGM is a 90 kilometre pipe that delivers around 65million litres of water from Chichester Dam to Maitland, Newcastle and surrounding areas every day.
Mr Bath said the majority of the non-standard agreements had been in place for decades.
“The CTGM was designed to deliver bulk water from Chichester Dam, not as a standard water supply main, which means Hunter Water can’t guarantee continuous supply to those drawing directly from it.
“Water from the CTGM is also untreated between Chichester Dam and Dungog Water Treatment Plant, dosed only with chlorine, which means it is not suitable for drinking.”
Mr Bath said Hunter Water has written to each of the 71 non-standard customers to renew their agreements, and in instances where we haven’t heard back will follow up with more correspondence, phone calls and a site visit.
“Ultimately for a property to continue to receive water direct from the CTGM, they will have to have a current contract with Hunter Water,” Mr Bath said.
Customers on a non-standard agreement to draw water directly from the CTGM pay $1.74 per kilolitre for water, which is a 20 per cent discount on the price paid by all other Hunter Water customers.