Cohuna town water supply fluoridation achieved
Published on 03 May 2021
The oral health of residents who use Cohuna’s town water for drinking purposes will be supported following the introduction of fluoride into the town’s water supply.
Coliban Water, which manages Cohuna’s town water supply, started introducing fluoride to the town’s water supply last week.
“Oral health presents a significant area of disadvantage in Gannawarra,” Gannawarra Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Tom O’Reilly said.
“Children in particular experience higher rates of tooth decay compared to the state average and community water fluoridation is proven to be a safe and effective method of reducing tooth decay.
“Following on from a National Health and Medical Research funded Rural Engaging Communities in Oral Health project from 2014-2016, Council included the need to advocate for the fluoridation of the Cohuna town water supply in the Council Plan 2017-2021 and has spent the past four years working with Coliban Water and the Department of Health to make this a reality.”
Coliban Water Senior Water Quality and Regulatory Advisor, David Sheehan said the water corporation had worked closely with the Department of Health over the last two years to enable the project to come to fruition.
“Coliban Water was directed by the Department of Health to deliver this initiative under the Health (Fluoridation) Act 1973 to improve the dental health of the Cohuna community,” Mr Sheehan said.
“This has involved making changes to our Cohuna Water Treatment Plant to prepare for the addition of fluoride and ensure that appropriate water treatment and dosing processes are in place.”
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Angie Bone said the introduction of fluoride to the water supply is a great outcome for this community which has been fully supportive of the move.
“It will lead to improvements in the oral health of the people who reside in these areas,” Dr Bone said.
“Water fluoridation is safe, effective and recommended by leading national and international health organisations.
“Research shows the rate of dental hospitalisation of children under 10 years of age in this area is higher than the state average. Water fluoridation helps reduce tooth decay, avoid dental hospitalisations and is cost effective.”
More than 96 per cent of Victorians drink water with either naturally occurring or added fluoride, whilst the addition of fluoride will not change the safety of the drinking water produced at the plant.
“We have been working to ensure adequate notice and information has been available to the residents of Cohuna prior to the addition of fluoride,” Mr Sheehan said.
Cohuna is the 24th town in the region to have fluoride added to its water, and the second town within the Gannawarra to benefit from similar works, with Kerang’s drinking water supply fluoridated since 2010.
“Council congratulates the Department of Health and Coliban Water for their role in making this a reality, which will have lasting benefits for Cohuna’s residents now and into the future,” Mr O’Reilly said.
ABOVE: Narelle O’Donoghue (Gannawarra Shire Council Manager Community Health), left, Stacy Williams (Gannawarra Shire Council Director Community Wellbeing), Danny McLean (Coliban Water Executive General Manager Service Delivery) and Anthony Carbines (Parliamentary Secretary for Health) toured the Cohuna Water Treatment Plan last week following the introduction of fluoride into the town’s water supply.