Water will be drained from the Iluka reservoir after a break-in.
Water will be drained from the Iluka reservoir after a break-in. John McCutcheon

'Senseless damage' to tank draining for council's water team

THOUSANDS of litres of water has been drained from the Iluka reservoir after a serious break in at the site.

Last Friday Clarence Valley Council announced via their Facebook site "unauthorised access" was detected at the Iluka reservoir and thieves had stolen valuable equipment and cut communication lines.

Because of the damage at the site, council said they were unable to determine whether or not water had been "maliciously contaminated" which left them with no option but to drain the tank.

"Our water team is not having a great week," the post read.

"NSW Health has advised that we empty, clean and refill the water tank, which we will do as soon as possible," the post read.

A council spokesperson confirmed if "there are obvious signs that the contents of the tank have been targeted or potentially put at risk" then they would always err on the side of caution and "empty, thoroughly clean and refill" the tank.

"Over the years, other water tanks have been scaled, had graffiti vandalism or locks damaged, however these cases have not put the water quality at risk" the spokesperson said.

The tank was drained on Friday night and the spokesperson said the crews would work on Saturday morning to clean and repair the damage.

They assured the public there would be no impact on water supply as the reservoir was used as a back-up and had not been in use since the incident.

The refill process was also expected to be "slower than normal" to ensure water pressure in Iluka and the surrounding areas would not be affected.

The intruders cut communication cables, locks and damaged cabinets at the site while also stealing valuable communication equipment used to maintain the reservoir.

"This equipment includes radio and battery and allowed the water level and other information to be communicated from site to our operators," the spokesperson said.

The timing of the break in could not have been worse, with the region in the grip of a bushfire emergency and drought and the need to conserve water a serious issue.

"We are extremely disappointed that this would occur, especially in the current fire emergency situation and when the Clarence Valley is trying to conserve water during this drought," the spokesperson said.

"Senseless damage that will be costly to fix.

"If anyone has information about the crime, please contact the police."



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