Upper Hunter Shire Council moved this week to put a proposed amendment on public exhibition which would enable Scone Race Club (SRC) to get a temporary drop in charges for water for track and ground irrigation.
SRC wrote to Council requesting the temporary drop that would mean they'd have the same rate as water used on Council parks, gardens, cemeteries and pools (96c per kL), until June 2020. As the race club is classified as ‘commercial’ a $2.35 per kL charge is normally applicable.
“Without a viable water source, it is very likely racing and a majority of the training out of the Scone Race Club will cease indefinitely and also place at risk the 2020 Scone Cup Carnival event,” Scone Race Club CEO Heath Courtney wrote.
A proposed amendment to the Revenue Policy was moved to be put on public exhibition at this week's Council meeting.
If it is approved the temporary drop would be in place until June next year.
The change will not decrease water availability for the 2019/20 year, as annual allocations from Glenbawn Dam have already been set and are sufficient for town water supply needs – including supply to Murrurundi.
The SRC, in partnership with Racing NSW, are currently investing ‘significant funds’ in order to increase their water efficiency and identify alternate water supply sources for the future. In the short term, and for this summer period in particular, the SRC will likely fall short of the minimum amount of water required in order to not adversely affect their operations if town water is not used.
Council said they have "supported the Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre (HVERC) and the SRC over many years, with regular supply of recycled water from the Scone sewage treatment plant (STP) for more than a decade."
The SRC also have access to ground water which is their regular primary source. The continued drought has put a strain on both supplies, with regular ground water almost completely failed.
As per Upper Hunter Shire Council’s Revenue Policy, the SRC is classified as ‘Commercial’ and therefore a $2.35 per kL supply charge is applicable to all town water supplied.
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