Future uncertain for cyclone-devastated Carnarvon

Cyclone Olwyn over Carnarvon

Cyclone Olwyn over Carnarvon

Ally Harper, Staff reporter

3500 Horizon Power customers were left without electricity when Cyclone Olwyn hit the town of Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, last Friday.

Power for 2300 homes was restored over the weekend once the red alert was lifted, along with another 600 today, but it may be some time before power to the remaining homes is restored, with over one hundred power poles still down.

Some parts of Carnarvon operate on underground power as part of the State’s Underground Power Project (SUPP), but the mass devastation from Olwyn caused outages for the vast majority of the region.

Horizon Power spokesperson, Tracy Armson, says lack of government funding has limited Carnarvon’s capacity for underground power, and that although the underground coverage they do receive has certainly assisted in restoring power, the damage would have been less extensive had more of the region been included in the SUPP.

Communications advisor for WA Labor leader Mark McGowan, Jamie Macdonald, was unsure why more of the Carnarvon region wasn’t covered by the program.

Much of the region is without water after a tree fell on a major water main, along with tree roots causing damage to pipes. Bottled water is being supplied, with residents asked to use it sparingly.

Shire President, Karl Brandenburg, says restoring Carnarvon’s water supply is the highest of concerns, according to 7 News.

Water Corporation regional manager for the Mid West, Stephen Greeve, warned the ABC that full water supply could still be days away.

SES teams from around WA arrived in Carnarvon over the weekend to carry out damage assessments, and had responded to more than 200 calls for assistance as of Sunday lunchtime.

According to former New England MP, Tony Windsor, the horticultural town’s future is up in arms.