Whether or not Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders would provide funding for the John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant if he was elected into power again remains uncertain, but he has said the NSW government provides ongoing technical and financial support to councils.
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In a short response provided when asked about the ongoing water issues Dubbo has experienced in the past year, Mr Saunders said he was always willing to work constructively with council on any issues pertaining to their infrastructure.
"Including water," he told the Daily Liberal.
During the middle of last year, Dubbo went without clean drinking water for more than a month due to organic matter washing into the water treatment plant while it was only in December when council was forced to alert NSW Health to an "earthy smell" in the city's drinking water.
Earlier this month it was announced Wellington and surrounds was temporarily without fluoride in its water after a pump at the fluoride dosing system at Wellington's Water Treatment Plant failed.
That came as Dubbo's water supply remains un-fluoridated following the discovery last year that council had - unbeknownst to the public - not been fluoridating the local water supply for the past three-and-half years.
In a media release from the NSW Government it stated they were investing $30 million to unlock access to further groundwater to safeguard water supplies for the more than 48,000 residents in Dubbo, Wellington and Geurie and further reduce water quality risk.
This $30 million announcement was originally made in June 2019 by Mr Saunders.
"Dubbo Regional Council has used the funding for an array of projects, including pipelines, bores and the treatment plant," he said recently.
Mr Saunders wouldn't say whether he'd provide funding to Dubbo's water treatment plant or not if reelected, but echoed the sentiment of Minister for Land and Water Kevin Anderson, who told the Daily Liberal recently water security in the city is a "major priority" for the NSW Nationals.
"Council has primary responsibility for operating water treatment facilities," Mr Anderson said.
He explained the NSW Government provides expert technical advice to support council in reviewing their operations and identifying opportunities for improvement to ensure they're delivering the best services for their customers.
This includes holding workshops with council and NSW Health in response to boil water alerts.
Dubbo Regional Council is currently participating in phase two of the NSW Government's Regional Leakage Reducation Program, designed to improve water and sewerage services.
"Work began in Dubbo in December last year and is due to be finished in March and will help save council hundreds of thousands of dollars every year," Mr Anderson said.
"This program provides greater support for local councils and local water utilities in every corner of the state so towns like Dubbo can maintain reliable water and sewerage services, even during floods, droughts and bushfires."
A $24 million water treatment plant was constructed in Dubbo in 2006.
"The plant remains in good condition and has the right equipment to bring very poor-quality water taken from the Macquarie River up to the standard required by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines," Mr Anderson said.
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