AND you thought Griffith’s water was bad.
The tap water in Rankins Springs is so tainted by sludge that residents are coming out of the shower dirtier than they went in.
It has never been safe to drink but, since Christmas, the quality of the town’s water has taken a turn for the worse.
Clothes can’t be washed in it, showers are a waste of time and toilet bowls have taken on a gritty film.
Local farmer John Buchanan has taken a water sample every three to four days for the past two months, leaving him with a collection of muddy, grimy water.
He plans to take the filthy bottles to tomorrow’s Carrathool Shire Council meeting, making a defiant promise – “I’ll bring the drinks”.
Rankins Springs is only serviced by treated raw water so residents are reliant on rainwater tanks to access drinking water.
Many are now using that water for the laundry and bathroom.
“We can’t use the tap water for anything, yet we’re paying for it,” Mr Buchanan said.
“The whole town is up in arms about it.
“The only thing it’s good for is the garden because you can water and fertilise at the same time.”
Rankins Springs households are charged $350 per year to access water plus 50 cents per kilolitre used.
The shire’s potable water, which flows to its other townships, is charged at 80 cents per kilolitre, with the same access charge.
Rankins Springs’ supply comes directly from the channel and is treated before flowing into homes.
Resident Russell Mitchell said the water couldn’t even be trusted for consumption if it was boiled.
“We are paying access rates equivalent to potable water and it’s nowhere near an equivalent product,” Mr Mitchell said.
“In my opinion, Carrathool Shire is the most incompetent business in the country. When you buy land, you expect to be able to connect to water.
“We’ve got dirt roads, no sewers, no garbage collection and no water - they just don’t want to know about us out here.”
While Carrathool Shire Council has allocated more than $500,000 to improve the existing water delivery system over the next five months, director of works Stephen Joyce said investigations had begun into a drinkable supply for Rankins Springs.
A bore had been drilled but the resultant water wasn’t up to standard.
“Water through the system does go up and down in quality,” Mr Joyce said.
“Sometimes when high volumes of water are going through, it stirs up a bit of muck.
“This is not an ideal process but it is one we have flagged and are working through.
“We’re not just saying ‘bad luck’ and forgetting about them.”
Carrathool Shire operates six rural water supply schemes, the biggest system in the state.