Dorothea Mackellar’s iconic poem ‘My Country’ describes a land “of drought and flooding rains”, which is a description that mirrors the condtions Carpentaria Shire Council has to deal with on an all too regular basis.
Following damage as a result of flooding in 2014, Carpentaria Shire Council faced another challenge in 2015 as it was running out of water that was needed to help deliver restoration works for McAllister Mail Run Road as part of its 2014 restoration program.
Transporting water from distant water sources such as the Leichhardt River would have increased water costs due to the return trip time being in excess of four hours.
Faced with the challenge, Carpentaria proposed constructing a bore to drill for water from the Great Artesian Basin.
Council provided a business case outlining the savings expected from the costs of constructing the water bore and drilling for water as opposed to the costs of sourcing and caring water from the Leichhardt River across the region.
The decision on the eligibility of this approach under the NDRRA rested with Emergency Management Australia (EMA).
EMA’s assessment was “it is clear that the estimated costs to source water through the construction of two Artesian bores is more cost effective than carting water from the nearest above ground sources.”
At the time, Carpentaria Shire Council Mayor Fred Pascoe said estimated water cartage costs were $509,000 and complete bore construction costs were approximately $350,000 creating an anticipated total saving of $159,000 for the project.
“However, with extremely dry conditions there was a real chance that the works could not have been completed at all leaving the local community and other road users at a distinct disadvantage,” Cr Pascoe said.
“This is the first time Council drilled an Artesian bore for NDRRA works and we are pleased to say it has been a success.
“Contractors Daly Bro’s Drilling starting drilling on 2 October and finished on 12 October after hitting water 615 metres below the surface.
“We’d like to thank QRA for advocating on Council’s behalf to the Commonwealth and for delivering the approval in a timely manner.
“I think this type of approach in looking outside the box is practical and innovative which allows remote Councils to provide value-for-money solutions for both Government and the community.
“It allows assets to be reinstated, returning services back to the local community faster and cheaper so that they can get on with focusing on their livelihood and other daily demands,” he said.
The estimated total cost for restoration works on McAllister Mail Run Road was approximately $1.2 million and was completed December 2015.