Leslie Cullen.
Leslie Cullen. Jim Alouat

Complaints a dampener for water business helping locals

COULD you go two weeks with no water in your home?

That's the reality many locals - some of them just half a kilometre out of town - are facing as water cartage services struggle to keep up with demand.

Speaking to the NewsMail yesterday, C&M Water Cartage's Leslie and Jono Cullen said few people in the city realised just how bad the situation was for those who had no water in their tanks.

It's a situation further complicated by complaints lodged with the council by residents surrounding a hydrant the business is using as a 24-hour source of water for the community.

"We're in a drought," Leslie said.

"This is drinking water and water to flush toilets.

"We've got schools that need water to flush their toilets and to wash their hands."

Since Monday morning, the Cullens have been refilling from the Mount Perry Rd hydrant all day and night to keep up with demand, driving the water as far as Mundubbera.

The business says if it adheres to the council's stipulated hours of 6am to 6pm then some people will be waiting for water for up to two weeks.

Leslie's son Jono has moved back to Bundaberg just to help his father keep up with what the family says is the most catastrophic drought situation they've seen in 15 years.

Even during the Deepwater fires, the family could keep up with orders, but with the heavens continuously refusing to give way, all that has changed.

"There are little kids at home with no water for baths and no water for them to drink," Jono said.

In July, Leslie told the NewsMail it was the first time he'd had to start refilling dams for anything other than aesthetics.

With an inner-city water delivery taking at least an hour and deliveries to areas like Baffle Creek taking much longer, the family said cutting back the hours they're refilling would be a disaster for those in need.

Then there's the fact they can receive up to 60 calls a day for water.

The family-run business is defiant when it comes to refilling through the night, and has asked the council and community to think about those without water.

"The people who live around that fill point need to have some compassion," Leslie said.

"All it needs is some compassion from people.

"Queensland is drought-declared".

A photo showing various water cartage trucks lining up to use the Fairymead Rd hydrant.
A photo showing various water cartage trucks lining up to use the Fairymead Rd hydrant. Contributed

When Jono spoke to the NewsMail, he'd just come back from another water drop-off.

He explained that his offsider would unload at one address while he'd rush off to get water for another.

The business said there were two other hydrants but one was difficult to use with poor water pressure, while the other had water with a taste people didn't like.

Leslie said the council told him they would work out a solution, but were adamant about sticking to the 6am-6pm rule.

A Bundaberg Regional Council spokesperson said all businesses were asked to respect the neighbourhood at Mount Perry Rd.

"Council has received complaints about the North Bundaberg bulk water fill facility on Mount Perry Rd being used at night and in the early hours of the morning," they said.

"Council distributed advice to all bulk water carriers advising them that when using this facility to be considerate of surrounding residential properties and requested that, if there was a requirement to access outside of the hours of 6am and 6pm, the University Drive facility be used during these hours.

"The University Drive bulk water facility is located in an industrial area with no impact on neighbouring residential properties."

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