Drought measures toughen to conserve Namoi water

Drought measures toughen to conserve Namoi water

14 November 2018

WaterNSW is implementing further drought measures to save water for critical needs in the Namoi valley as the drought’s impact intensifies across the region.

With Keepit Dam’s storage at 6.6% and estimated to be all but empty by the end of December without significant inflows, WaterNSW is advising customers the volume of water available of extraction is less than previously expected.

Today the NSW Government announced temporary water restrictions to general security water users in both the Upper and Lower Namoi regulated river water source to secure essential water needs.

Under the temporary water restrictions, Upper Namoi regulated river general security users can access 85 percent of the volume of water held in their account as of 5 November 2018.

Lower Namoi regulated river general security users also only have access to 85 percent of the water orders placed by 5 November 2018. There will be no further Lower Namoi regulated river general security water orders, which ceased on 5 November 2018.

Trading restrictions throughout the Namoi regulated river system also apply.

This temporary water restriction remains in force until 30 June 2019, unless it is repealed or modified as a result of increased catchment inflows.

WaterNSW Executive Manager Systems Operations, Adrian Langdon said that under current conditions it will be increasingly difficult to get water to the lower sections of the river.

“We appreciate water users in the Namoi are doing it tough with the drought, so we’re doing the best we can to get the most out of the remaining water supplies.

“WaterNSW has been working closely with water users in the Upper and Lower Namoi to manage dwindling supplies, and co-operation from customers has enabled us to extend supply under arguably the state’s most severe drought conditions.

“However, without further inflows, releases from Keepit are likely to cease in December, leaving water users reliant on groundwater supplies where available,” he said.

A lack of rainfall and a corresponding near absence of inflows into Namoi storages has resulted in the Namoi valley being subject to increasing drought management measures since March. These storages have received near record low inflows over the last two years and almost zero inflows in the previous six months, and only 20 gigalitres in the past 12 months.

A transfer of water downstream from Split Rock to Keepit of almost 35 gigalitres, in line with Namoi Water Sharing Plan rules, commenced on 20 October to extend supply to the Lower Namoi. The Split Rock storage will be reduced to less than 5%, with enough water retained in the storage to meet critical needs in the valley for the next two years.

“We are ensuring that the dwindling surface water resources are allocated fairly and with priority given to critical human needs”, Mr Langdon said.

“We will continue to monitor water resources and engage with the community in the Namoi to adapt strategies as required, and if necessary investigate potential additional measures and actions to ensure water supplies for critical needs.”

For WaterNSW drought management information visit: www.waternsw.com.au/drought

Media contact: Tony Webber 0428 613 478.


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