Snowy Valleys Council will spend $33,500 to build a new water pipeline to irrigate the Batlow Showground.
Currently, the showground, including the rugby league field, doesn’t have an irrigation supply to keep it sufficiently healthy for the array of sports activities that occur.
A treated effluent system which had been in place for a number of years was turned off due to health and safety reasons. In order to make the treated effluent safe for reuse for irrigation with the potential for humans and animals to come into contact with the water, significant upgrades would be required for the treatment plant, which would cost around $200,000.
Instead, the council will pipe untreated raw water, using the same supply which services the town’s residents, to the showground at a much lower cost.
Alongside the $33,500 capital investment, the council will also establish an annual budget of $28,800 for the cost involved with operating irrigation, which would involve water consumption based on 10ml per annum.
A council report tabled at last Thursday’s monthly meeting noted that while the re-use of the treated effluent is in keeping with the community’s desire to contribute positively to the environment by reducing water consumption, it was not considered a practical or economic solution at the current time.
The current water licence for the supply of town water for Batlow has sufficient capacity for the provision of water to the showground’s for irrigation, the report stated.
The licence currently allows for the extraction of 516ml per annum of which it currently uses around 260ml, and that it was estimated that the irrigation of the sport ground would consume an additional 10ml per annum.
Councillor Margaret Isslemann said that the Batlow community had been lobbying to have the ground watered again for around five years and that there had been a heavy push from the community to get irrigation re-established.
“This would be a wonderful opportunity to support the community through sporting activities around Batlow. I’m very, very pleased to have this happen,” Clr Isslemann said.
She said that with the local sporting talent in the community, having the field maintained to a suitable standard was vital.
“We have a talented athlete in Batlow- Jack Gould- who has just been given an international rating for his athletic achievements and to have him train on this oval and to have it maintained and watered is a big exercise.
“Gould mows the lawns himself and also runs on it. He’s quite committed and he will be very excited to hear this news,” she said.
Council had received numerous requests from representatives of the Batlow Football Club to establish an irrigation system to ensure that the ground could be kept in a fit for purpose condition that maximizes utilization, aesthetics and user safety during the hotter summer months.
Councillor John Larter was also supportive of the plan, and said that it could be a council priority to adopt a similar strategy for Twickenham Oval.
“I endorse it as well but perhaps we could look at a repeat down the track with a similar situation at the Tumut Rugby League ground as well because I know they have similar water problems,” Clr Larter said.
“Currently they are carting water in trucks for the oval so if we could do that that would be great.”
The council’s General Manager Matthew Hyde confirmed that council was having similar discussions with the Tumut Turf Club about doing something along that vein.