THE untimely drinking water shortage at Badgingarra Primary School in February was symptomatic of the State Government's lack of attention to rural areas and should never have happened, according to Nationals education spokesman and Greenough MLA Grant Woodhams.
Mr Woodhams said Badgingarra students had no safe drinking water for a week in term one because water bacteria levels in the school water tanks were unsafe.
"The headmaster had to supply water for the kids from the tanks at her home," he said.
"The rainwater tanks reached their use-by date in 2005 and had rust and mineral deposits building up.
"Badgingarra Primary School is still mostly in its 1960s state and there are issues with white ants, maintenance and even some of the toilets are still the original 60s and 70s cisterns."
Mr Woodhams said the school had difficulty finding a bottled water contractor willing to deliver to Badgingarra while the Education Department constructed new water tanks.
"The real difficulty is that we have a city-based government with a city-centric mentality," he said.
"Before Subiaco and Perth oval upgrades, Cockburn Sound developments and purple and orange poles on the railway, the government needs to get back to providing the basics.
"Rural people should be given a chance to have an equitable standard of living in their country locations."
Badgingarra Primary School principal Dianne Hore said the water shortage problem was largely due to contractors' reluctance to deliver to the school and a normal seasonal shortage of water.
"I was being proactive this year because I didn't want the kids to be without water as they were briefly at the start of 2005," Mrs Hore said.
"I brought water down in cleaned milk containers and bottles etc from my house for one week so the students would not be at risk from the water in the school's tanks.
"The department did a good job of organising new tanks and getting a bottled water contractor, but the difficulty was finding one to deliver here to Badgingarra."