A short drive up the road and Sydney-siders are facing the very real possibility of pending water restrictions should we not see an end to the current dry spell. Sadly, this scenario is all too familiar in towns and cities across the state as the drought continues to bite hard.
Here in the Southern Highlands we're fortunate to have above-average water storage levels compared to many of our neighbouring regions. This doesn't mean, however, we should be wasteful with this precious resource.
Our shire is also somewhat unique in that our water and sewerage services are managed by council. Many neighbouring local government areas, including those to our north in Wollondilly and to our east in the Illawarra, are managed by a dedicated state-managed water authority.
In fact, a significant portion of Wingecarribee Shire Council staff are employed to ensure our shire's water and sewerage services operate smoothly.
They include water treatment officers, engineers, technicians and telemetry team members. Also included are our sewage treatment operators, maintenance crews and administrative personnel.
These teams operate day and night and are available 365 days of the year in the event of a water main break, sewage choke or pump failure.
Together the water team manages two dams and two water treatment works, 29 water reservoirs and a network of almost 700 kms of water pipes. They also look after 7,500 water hydrants and almost 5,000 valves.
The sewer team manage six sewage treatment plants, 77 sewage pumping stations and 598 kms of sewage mains across the shire. They also maintain hundreds of manholes, vents and sewage valves across our towns and villages.
Council's Water and Sewer Department is just one example of the many functions and responsibilities managed by Wingecarribee Shire Council.