Water help doesn’t wash


Zoe Moffatt

Star Weekly is looking back at the best stories of last year, and this is one of them.

Kyneton business owners say they would have liked more support from Coliban Water after the town’s water supply was disrupted after a water main burst overnight on April 11.

Kyneton and Malmsbury residents were advised to boil their water after the water main in Rennick Avenue burst, resulting in supply interruption, very low pressure and potential contamination.

Country Cob manager Fiona Halpin said she would have liked Coliban Water to offer more help to affected businesses.

“They’ve done the best they can I think, [but] they could have helped businesses out a bit by offering some alternative… or had an option to make it a bit easier on businesses,” Ms Halpin said.

“Perhaps a more central location [to get clean water from].”

Ms Halpin said the bakery was boiling and then refrigerating water, but has since sent staff to get water from trailers supplied by Coliban Water at the showgrounds.

“We picked up 40 litres [on Thursday, which is] just for shop use… we can’t offer free drinking water,” she said. “We are going to get more water tomorrow (Friday) so we have some for the weekend.”

Watts Fresh owner Dean Lamb said he wanted more clarity about the situation from Coliban Water.

“You could hear a rumble of concern with customers and staff,” Mr Lamb said. “[There was] no advice to businesses… or specific business information.

“I would have liked some general advice on what you should do to protect your coffee machine, [as] these can be quite an investment for a small business.

“Any business that prepares food, especially salads, should really get some clear direction about the best way to protect their customers and their business.”

A spokesperson for Coliban Water said the authority encourages businesses with specific enquiries to make contact, but “the same advice applies to all residential and business customers [and they]… acknowledge the inconvenience.”

In response to a question from Star Weekly about protecting coffee machines, the spokesperson said “once the Boil Water Advisory has been lifted, we recommend running clean water through the machine for 5-10 minutes to ensure fresh water is in the machine.”

“There will not be any damage to the machine,” they said.