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New water manager finds much to like

Wednesday, 9th October, 2019

Ross Berry Ross Berry

By Craig Brealey

The city’s new water chief says quality water and quality staff should make his job a little easier in this terrible drought.

Ross Berry has been appointed Head of Water Operations having previously worked for Essential Energy as its Regional Manager in Taree on the NSW north coast.

Mr Berry replaces John Coffey who retired last month after 44 years with the Broken Hill Water Board and its successors.

Yesterday Mr Berry told the BDT that he was fortunate to have inherited such a well-run organisation and a reliable water supply from the pipeline.

That did not mean the end of level one water restrictions, although they could have been even tighter, he said.

“The quality and quantity of the water from the Murray is really easy to treat.

“If we didn’t have that water, the restrictions would be quite severe.

“But with no foreseeable end to the drought it would not be prudent to lift the restrictions.”

The city’s reservoirs could not be used to ease the restrictions, Mr Berry said.

“Stephens Creek will be kept as the primary back-up supply if there was a failure in the pipeline.

“Umberumberka is holding only one per cent of its capacity. We will maintain it as a water storage but, without a natural fill, we won’t use it because we don’t need it, given the water we’re getting from the Murray.”

Menindee’s supply would be drawn from Copi Hollow until late next month, said Mr Berry, at which time the plan was to supply the town with bore water.

Even with the drought, he said he was very happy to be in the Silver city where Essential Water employs 68 people, all of them “extremely capable”. 

“There’s upwards of 1500 years’ experience in Broken Hill, so they know what’s required and I think we’re in good hands with the staff here.

“Everyone at Essential Water has been so friendly, and the townsfolk, in welcoming me.

“We’ve bought a house, so I intend to stay. All our children have grown up and now live in almost every state of Australia, so we came out here for a bit of a change.

“The people have been great. It’s been a really easy transition. It’s a great place to live, and to get around in.

“At Taree, I had to drive about a thousand kilometres a week up and down the coast.”

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