The Parkes Shire remains on Level 1 Water Conservation Measures, and residents are encouraged to maintain good practice with water usage to conserve water where possible.
The brick pit is a welcome source of additional water for many residents during dry times, however, Parkes Shire Council advises residents that the water is only suitable for limited purposes.
The former brickworks site on Powter Street was repurposed as a stormwater storage basin several years ago and is freely available to residents to supplement their own supplies. However, even though brick pit water is accessed via standpipes, the water is untreated and is not suitable for human consumption.
Parkes Shire Council’s Director of Infrastructure, Andrew Francis, said that Council has been monitoring the brick pit water quality, and recent analysis shows that the water is moderately saline, making it unsuitable for a wide range of uses.
“Our most recent electrical conductivity tests show that the water has 0.219% salinity which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is enough to put it outside the tolerable range for a lot of uses.” Mr Francis said.
“The water is suitable for sheep, and can be used on lawns with caution as long as the area is irrigated with other sources of water between applications,” Mr Francis explained.
“While it is currently suitable for horses, pigs and beef cattle, it is reaching the maximum salinity limit for those livestock.”
“It is not suitable for drinking, and is also unsuitable for poultry, dairy cattle, and ornamental gardens.”
Drinking water would ideally have salinity of 0.012%, with the upper limit being no more than 0.16% salinity. In contrast, the salinity of ocean water is 3.5%.
“It’s free to access brick pit water, so that certainly helps people in times of drought, but residents should use it with caution and avoid watering solely with brick pit water if they’re unsure.” Mr Francis said.
Further information on stock and crop salinity tolerance can be found on the Department of Primary Industry website at dpi.nsw.gov.au