All sorts of nasties lurk in untreated water and our city guests sometimes fall victim to illness when visiting. Water is pumped from around the popular swimming pool which poses a serious health risk during summer months as does the threat of leaking septic tanks into the creek. GMW takes no responsibility for water quality and reminds users that the river and creek water is not suitable for drinking, food preparation or even showering.
Bacteria, pathogens, viruses, enteric protozoa all exist in untreated water and can be life threatening, especially to the young and elderly. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines
set the standards for the quality of drinking water including acceptable microbial and chemical content. Treated reticulated water must meet these standards but none of this applies to our Mitta water source.
Past reports of high levels of E.coli in the Snowy Creek are alarming and if monitoring is currently being conducted the results are not being made public.
Mitta has an urgent need for a treated water supply. North East Water has no plan to introduce treated water to Mitta and the Towong Shire who needs to initiate any action is also devoid of policy. The Shire commissioned a report in 2007 to investigate treated water and sewage for Eskdale and following intervention by the Mitta Valley Advancement Forum, funding for reticulated water was effected for that town in 2009.
Mitta needs to increase its permanent population to provide the social and economic opportunities to make the hamlet sustainable. Water supply is part of necessary infrastructure in a 21st-Century community and a viable water supply enhances investment and individual property worth.
The Shire needs to engage consultants to report on the costs and mechanism of establishing a potable water supply to each household within the town boundary. A preliminary estimate for the system is $2.6m and of course the Shire would then need to procure funding from the various Government sources.
Both developed and undeveloped countries recognise that a potable water supply is a basic necessity in a civilised and safety conscious community. It's time for Mitta to get some focus for a proper water supply.