Bega council seeks support to improve Bermagui area water supply

Bega Valley Shire Council environmental scientist Ken McLeod testing the water in the Brogo River system in early March.
Bega Valley Shire Council environmental scientist Ken McLeod testing the water in the Brogo River system in early March.

Good news for residents in the Bermagui Cobargo Wallaga area is that the boil water notice has been lifted, but a long-term fix for the water supply issue is going to require State Government support.

NSW Health has advised that the precautionary boil water notice for the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system has been lifted, based on the most recent Brogo River turbidity level and Bega Valley Shire Council’s safe management of the supply system.

The lifting of the precautionary boil water notice is immediate. Water from the tap no longer needs to be boiled for any purpose. Communities impacted on were Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village, and Akolele.

The boil water notice was introduced on Monday, March 6 for the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system as a precautionary measure upon advice from NSW Health concerning elevated turbidity levels in the Brogo River water following catchment rainfall.

The council’s manager of Water and Sewerage Services, Jim Collins said river water had continued to clear since the initial rainfall was received, to levels where NSW Health and the council was satisfied that the water supply system could be managed safely without the need for people to boil water.

“We understand the inconvenience caused by having to boil tap water and express our appreciation for the cooperation and understanding of all people affected since the notice was introduced,” Mr Collins said.

“At the moment, the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system is an unfiltered water supply system. Discussions with NSW Health and other State Government agencies continue regarding financial assistance for the construction of water filtration plants.”

A council spokesperson said at the moment the water for the Bermagui-Cobargo-Wallaga area came out of the Brogo River, which is fed by the dam. The water is then treated and made safe but that was harder to do when turbidity levels were high after rain.

When it comes to the rest of the Bega Valley Shire, the Yellowpinch Dam supply at Millingandi covered a good chunk but the Bega River aquifer was also an important component, and the Bemboka River looked after that community, he said.

“The council wants to build filtration plants on all those systems for different reasons, and has been getting things ready, buying land etc ready for the day the State Govt delivers the money,” the spokesperson said.

State money has been allocated for a filtration plant at Bemboka and planning is advanced around that project, he said.