Even though we are only 6 months through the 2018/2019 financial year, it is once again time for Council to move into its budget process.
With a big emphasis on new infrastructure coming from State Government funding, it is easy to lose sight of the considerable need to renew existing essential infrastructure such as water and sewer services. The pipelines that provide these essential services are buried deep in the ground and are only able to be inspected by very limited means. Council engages contractors to inspect sewer pipes with robots and captures closed circuit television footage of pipe conditions which allows an almost real- time condition assessment, however there is no such capability when it comes to water pipes.
As a result, Council must consider the age of the pipes, pipe material and history of breakages or failures in making an assessment of condition and replacement need. The hundreds of kilometres of water and sewer pipes that are currently providing service in Young, Harden and Boorowa are all wearing out, either through age, corrosion or environmental conditions. The replacement or renewal of the networks is a multi-million dollar process that is ongoing and will require considerable future investment by Council.
Due to the specialised nature of the water and sewer businesses, the funds raised from water operations may only be spent on providing water services and the funds raised by sewerage supply operations may only be spent on providing sewerage services. This means that the services are true “user pays” businesses with consumers of the services being required to fund the services.
Moving forward, Council will be considering an extensive network renewal need and as part of the 2019/2020 budget development process will be trying to ensure that the networks can provide a level of service that fits the community’s appetite to meet the cost of renewals and replacements.
The broader community will remain well serviced by the networks and may rest assured that Council will be trying to provide the highest quality service that it can, within the limits of its finances.
At this time of year, we are all busy with Christmas and holiday preparations, so many of them can involve driving some distance to family and loved ones… whether it be a long or a short trip, please travel safely, stay alert and don’t rush – it is better to arrive late than to never arrive at all.
– Greg Armstrong
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