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Water worries grow on Sunset Strip

Saturday, 2nd January, 2016

By Erica Visser

There are fears strippers are being treated like second class citizens as the region’s water crisis continues to unfold.

On Monday, Sunset Strip will join the city in switching its water supply from Copi Hollow to Weir 32.

But whilst in Broken Hill the highly saline water will be treated using an expensive new reverse osmosis (RO) plant; those in the “forgotten little village” won’t be so lucky.

As was current practice, Sunset Strip’s supply would be treated at the town’s 12-year-old plant to a standard deemed acceptable for “showering and other domestic purposes”. 

Whilst many residents relied on limited supplies from their own rainwater tanks for drinking water, local advocate and shack owner, Ross Leddra, says the state government’s apparent disregard for the town was unacceptable.

“Sunset Strip’s water is going to be absolute filth. Broken Hill has an RO plant to get rid of the salt, they have nothing,” he said.

“It’s not up to standards. As far as showering, gardening and decaying and rusting of appliances goes, the town is going to go down the gurgler.”

There were an estimated 30 households still living permanently at the village and Mr Leddra was particularly concerned about elderly residents and young children.

“I’m very, very worried. Menindee is going onto the common bore, Broken Hill has got an RO plant, but the authorities have put Sunset Strip in the ‘too hard’ basket.”

The Sunset Strip Progress Association’s Barry Fowler shared the concerns, noting that residents were already dissatisfied with the current Copi Hollow supply.

“I guess the main issue is that the water will kill our fruit trees, kill our lawns and destroy our appliances,” he said. 

“In the past three weeks we’ve noticed a strong smell of chlorine, you can definitely tell when someone’s just had a shower.”

Mr Fowler claimed Essential Water offered to cart limited amounts of treated potable water from the Menindee common bore to residents who had their own storage tanks.

“They will subsidise the cartage but we’ve got to pay the full price for the water, the same as what people in Broken Hill are paying but they are getting RO at no extra cost,” he said.

“Why should Sunset Strip have to pay to kill our lawns and our fruit trees?”

A spokesman for Essential Water could not confirm the company had made the offer, but defended the decisions made over supply.

“Providing they stick to Level 3 water restrictions the only change they will notice is in regards to salinity,” he said.

“We have to keep the chlorine levels up. Sunset Strip’s filtered chlorinated water has never been declared potable; however, it is safe for showering and other domestic needs.” 

The stronger water restrictions will be enforced from Monday, on the same day as the city begins on the Weir 32 supply which was expected to last until mid 2017. 

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