Residents turn off town water
ROBERT and Helen Holt's water quality was so poor when they moved into their Pratten home, they not only disconnected themselves from the town's water supply, they spent $20,000 putting down their own bore.
Back then, two years ago, the shower heads in the 18-month-old home had turned green and rusty, and the air-conditioner became gummed up and water would constantly flow out of it.
Now, using their own bore water, the Holts are much happier and so are their appliances - but amazingly, they claim they are still being charged for water they don't use.
Despite various correspondence to try to have the water charges dismissed, Mr Holt said the Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) was still charging them.
"How can council charge us $315 just to have water running past our place?" he asked.
"We don't use it. We severed the (water supply link) altogether."
Mr Holt said in the letters he received from council, they argued his fees were a "water access fee" - but the Pratten resident didn't accept that.
"We don't pay an access charge for electricity or gas running past us, so I don't see why we should pay for water," he said.
Mr Holt said he had previously worked as a water technical officer for more than 10 years for another council.
Such is his frustration with his current situation, he has written to local Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg to rally support.
He has also taken a sample of the town's water and a sample of his own bore water to a water company in Brisbane to analyse.
Fellow Pratten resident Trevor Badcock has also taken measures into his own hands when it comes to water usage. After becoming fed up with the poor quality, he now relies on tank water.
"It really annoys me. As far as I'm concerned council can take it all away and everyone can have tanks and we'd be far better off," he said.
"I don't use it or drink it. I occasionally use it on my garden and that's it. My last water bill was $10 a year."
Neither Mr Holt nor Mr Badcock had seen the town's water since council flushed and cleaned the system last week.
SDRC director of engineering services Peter See said in his five-year term with council, he did not recall any suggestion to do away with the water supply.
SDRC was unavailable to comment on the Holts' water charges situation at the weekend.