Tweed Council rejects one-off water bid for Falls Festival
A BID to have a one-off exemption from Tweed’s water usage policy has been rejected unanimously by councillors.
North Byron Parklands issued a request to purchase water from the Tweed for the upcoming Falls Festival.
Tweed Shire Council’s policy does not permit water to be sold outside of the region when Clarrie Hall Dam is below 90 per cent capacity, which it dipped below last month.
North Byron Parklands management asked to be able to purchase water for the festival, despite council documents indicating the dam would be at roughly 77 per cent capacity during the festival.
Mat Morris, the general manager of North Byron Parklands, said before the meeting on Thursday that every effort was being made to ensure a limited amount of water would be needed from the Tweed.
“North Byron Parklands is not connected to any local council potable water mains.
“We harvest more than 50 per cent of our water requirements from roof catchments across the venue,” Mr Morris said.
“As Parklands is on the Tweed Shire Council and Byron Shire Council border, the balance of water required for the events is purchased from both of these councils.
“We are aware that Tweed Shire Council has a trigger that when the Clarrie Hall Dam drops to 90 per cent full, they no longer sell water outside the local government area.
““Parklands has written to the Tweed Shire Council seeking a once-off exemption based on the fact we plan to increase our ability to harvest and store more rainwater in the future with the installation of three commercially sized tanks.
“Of course, if Tweed Shire Council decide not to grant this exemption, we will abide by their decision and purchase water from other sources,” Mr Morris said.
Councillors all voted against the request, as water restrictions for residents are expected to be imminent in the new year if substantial rainfall does not happen.
Councillor James Owen said earlier in the week he would vote against the proposal, citing the need to use the Tweed’s water for its residents.
“We are looking at level one water restrictions, barring any significant rain,” Cr Owen said.
“I don’t think it would be right or fair to the Tweed community to have their water utilised for a musical festival when it is so valuable.
“They would be paying twice the rate than usually charged, but you can’t put a price on our most precious resource.”