New water manager up for the challenges of Cobar’s system

Cobar Shire Council’s new water and sewerage manager Eric Poga is looking forward to working through the challenges presented by Cobar’s water and sewer network including the construction of the new water treatment plant.

With the current poor state of Cobar’s town water supply, Cobar Shire Council’s new water and sewerage manager Eric Poga feels he may have “jumped into the deep end” when he recently took on the role.

Mr Poga told The Cobar Weekly he is however looking forward to the challenge of seeing the new water filtration plant up and running and 6km of the town’s old water pipes being replaced.

The qualified civil engineer knows Cobar well having worked as a resident engineer with the Public Works department in Cobar in 1980 and 1981.

“I was working on the water treatment plant which doubled the capacity of the water plant.

“Then we built the new sewerage works.

“I was involved in both of those schemes,” Mr Poga said.

After moving back to Dubbo, where he has lived since, Mr Poga said he continued to have a lot of association with the Cobar Water Board and the associated work that was going on in Cobar.

Mr Poga began his career as a civil engineer with the Sydney Water Board, before moving into the Public Works field.

He later worked with a number of councils including spending 15 years with Wellington Shire Council before he decided to retire.

He was coaxed back out of retirement when the Dubbo and Wellington councils were amalgamated and worked for another 12 months.

When the water and sewerage manager job at Cobar came up at the end of last year, Mr Poga decided to apply.

“With the new Cobar water plant being built it was sort of a feeling of dèjá vu,” he said.

“With all of these other projects and issues going on, I wanted to use my experiences to help out.

“I want to help the community—to me it’s more than a job,” he said.

Mr Poga said he was aware of Cobar’s dirty water issues before he started in the role.

“When I started with Wellington Council the first thing I was hit with was dirty
water. We investigated and ended up replacing 5kms of old cast iron pipeline.

“It’s exactly the same situation.

“I know how hard it is for the counter staff the outdoor staff, everyone dealing with all these issues so I was aware of all that and I knew there were problems here so I am here to help.

“It’s a terrible thing for the community to have to put up with. It’s really difficult for everyone, with dirty clothes and all those issues that come with it.

Mr Poga said Wellington now has perfectly clear water.

“We replaced all the old pipes and the water is excellent,” Mr Poga said.

He estimates Cobar’s water problems will be fixed within the next two years.

“There is a long lead time, there has to be investigation, design, calling in tenders. That whole process takes time,” he said.

Mr Poga is hopeful with his experience and knowledge, he can help make a difference to Cobar’s water supply.