Armidale Vegetable Sowing Guide
This guide shows planting time periods that should allow you to get a crop in Armidale.

Fair Water Charges for All

Monday, 17 Jun
5:00 pm

Malpas Dam, at 50.6% capacity on 10 June 2019The Climate Council warns that global warming will cause more severe and devastating droughts. This creates problems. Just think of the cost of trucking water to Guyra, which begins on June 11, or the millions it will take to raise the Malpas dam wall.
After initial water restrictions were imposed, Armidale Region’s water use did not decline. Restrictions increased to level 3 in April, then level 4 (no outdoor use) on 20 May 2019.
Severe restrictions create hardship for people who need water to grow food or are concerned that precious garden plants will die. Most of us want do what’s right, but it helps to back-up restrictions with price signals. Many households currently pay more for their water connection than for water use.

Why not make the link between water use and charges clearer, and fairer, by reducing next year’s $225 connection fee to $30 and charging everyone $4/kilolitre for water, instead of our complicated system that confuses and distorts price signals? Next year’s proposed domestic charges are $2.60, $3.45 and $3.90 per kilolitre in Armidale, depending on usage; in Guyra they will be $2.15, $2.50 and $2.70.

The majority of households would benefit from clearer charges, especially if improved price signals discourage profligate water use, and reduce the need for severe restrictions such as our current level 4 that bans all outdoor use. Average households would pay the same; households using twice the average would also pay the same if they reduce consumption by just 1.25%; below-average users would pay less. The incentive to lower costs would encourage residents to change behaviours and invest in efficient appliances.
A fairer system would also help Armidale Regional Council meet government best-practice guidelines. Fairer charges encourage and reward those who do the right thing and stimulate interest in saving water. This helps the environment, reduces the cost of enforcing water restrictions, the need to truck water to Guyra, the need for level 4 restrictions and would also allow more time to investigate the potential need for increased capacity at Malpas.
The best time to fix this problem is when we all understand the importance of saving water, and while council’s fees and charges are under review.

Have your say by June 17 by emailing or visiting

By Elizabeth O’Hara, Ed Campbell and Dorothy Robinson

1 comment to Fair Water Charges for All

  • jenny drewitt

    Would be great to see a photo of the dam, including some natural shoreline – before and after the drought.