The Mungerannie Hotel in the state’s far north will remain open for business after the owners secured a truck that will transport water to the pub every day

Key points:

  • The Mungerannie Hotel’s access to an artesian bore was cut off by cattle and drilling magnate Viv Oldfield last week
  • A truck now will be used to transport 13,000 litres of water to the pub each day from another bore 40km away
  • Mr Oldfield says the hotel’s owners were given “ample opportunity” to arrange an alternative water supply

Last week, the hotel’s access to an artesian bore was cut off by cattle and drilling magnate Viv Oldfield, who owns the property where the bore is located.

This left the hotel staff and patrons with enough water for three or four days, which had to be rationed out with buckets.

Mungerannie is more than 800 kilometres north of Adelaide on the unsealed Birdsville Track.

Fearing the hotel’s closure, owners and staff were able to secure another bore.

But it is about 40 kilometres away.

This water truck will be used to transport 13,000 litres of water to the hotel each day.(Supplied: Andrew Norman )

Hotel co-owner Andrew Norman said they were able to buy a truck in Bonny-Doon, Victoria that has now made its way to Mungerannie.

“It’s a 13,000-litre truck so we’ll have to do one load of water a day [from the new bore] which will take three or four hours,” Mr Norman said.

“We’ve hired a guy, and it will be his job to keep water going to the pub, so he’s landed full-time gig there.

“This secures and guarantees the water.

“We were all very nervous and we really had to react on Friday to pull out all stops.

“Everyone was ringing up about their bookings and to not have the confidence [to confirm] was quite an imposition.

“It cost us about $30,000 and it was an unexpected expense but just to get a hold of a truck so quickly, we’re very lucky.”

The Mungerannie Hotel has a 20,000-litre water tank.

But Mr Norman said since being cut off from the original bore, they had been offered five more water tanks by friends and family, so they can store about 100,000 litres of water.

The Mungerannie Hotel has been given five more tanks to help the owners store more water onsite.(Supplied: Andrew Norman )

No binding arrangement 

In statement provided by his lawyer Luke Gardiner, Viv Oldfield outlined his reasons for disconnecting the hotel’s water supply.

“I told Tom Caldwell [one of the hotel’s co-owners] before he bought the pub that I did not intend to continue the old arrangement, which was nothing to do with me,” Mr Oldfield said.

“I gave him ample opportunity to arrange an alternative water supply.

“You don’t just buy a property expecting to be able to force your neighbour to supply you with water.

“The hotel has a licence to sink its own bore, just like all the other land holders in the area have done.”

An email from Mr Gardiner stated the present owners of the hotel had never had an entitlement to draw water from the bore on Mr Oldfield’s land and they acquired the hotel with full knowledge of this.

“Whatever was the arrangement between the previous owner [of the land where the bore is located] and the previous owner of the Mungerannie Hotel, is not binding on Mr Oldfield,” Mr Gardiner said.

“This was pointed out in the clearest terms to the current owners prior to them purchasing the hotel.”