Emma Channon

Council to fix Blackwater water problem

"OUR money is dripping down the drain."

That was the concern of the majority at the Central Highlands Regional Council's water meeting on Friday as residents trickled through the doors of the civic centre asking for answers about the discoloured and bad-tasting water.

But council chief executive Scott Mason said repeatedly they would fix the problem at all costs and that "some type of financial relief" in the New Year would be revisited.

"I want to say upfront that this is an issue that's been going on for some time and there has certainly been some communication issues and we take responsibility for that - we've dropped the ball," Mr Mason said.

"We have committed to being upfront.

"The intention is to have public meetings... (and) a motion was passed to use whatever resources are necessary to fix this problem, so there is solid commitment from the board members to get on top of this issue."

He said the issue needed to be accelerated as quickly as possible.

"It is not acceptable... It's not an option for you to go through what you've been going through for another 12 months," he said.

Residents at the meeting said they had lost faith in the council and wanted transparency.

"We accept that fair on the chin," Cr Kev Cracknell, who chaired the meeting, said.

"There were certain things we said at the last meeting, (and they) haven't been followed through."

Although the council said they didn't know precisely what the problem was, the main issue was the manganese and the treatment process was currently being addressed.

Tenders will open for the upgrades on December 19, with the closing date scheduled in January and work to commence in February for six months.

Manager of the Blackwater Mineworkers and Blackwater Country Club Brad Smith said he understood how frustrating the water woes were on local homes, but also businesses were struggling as they forked out funds to install filter devices to provide clean, fresh water to patrons.

"We've spent thousands and thousands on water just on filtration systems to protect ourselves from litigation as a business supplying water," Mr Smith said.


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