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Namoi water resources under pressure as drought persist

Namoi water resources under pressure as drought persist

24 October 2018

WaterNSW is taking steps to actively manage Namoi valley water resources as they hit critical levels.

While water for town supply and critical needs is assured, prolonged periods of chronically low inflows have reduced Keepit Dam storage to 8.5% of capacity and Split Rock Dam to 12.8%.

A transfer of water downstream from Split Rock to Keepit of almost 35 gigalitres, in line with Namoi Water Sharing Plan rules, commenced on Saturday (20 October) to maintain supply to the Lower Namoi.

WaterNSW estimates that even with the additional water Keepit Dam could fall to 2% of capacity by the year’s end, without receiving significant inflows. Split Rock would hold less than 5% by the end of December under the same minimal inflow scenario.

A lack of rainfall and a corresponding near absence of inflows into dam storages over the past year has resulted in the Namoi valley being subject to tough drought management measures since April.

In the Lower Namoi it is possible that some stock and domestic customers and irrigators will not receive any more water while conditions persist, and remaining customers will be severely restricted in what water can be extracted.

Without further inflows, releases from Keepit will likely cease in December, leaving water users reliant on groundwater supplies where available.

Without significant inflows it is likely that more hard decisions will be required in the months ahead to ensure dwindling resources are allocated fairly and with priority given to critical human needs, according to WaterNSW Executive Manager Systems Operations, Adrian Langdon.

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

“With government, and in collaboration with the critical water advisory panel, we are implementing strategies to extend vital supply as long as possible and sharing the hardship as fairly as we can in line with water sharing plan rules until the drought breaks.

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

Media contact: Tony Webber 0428 613 478.

61.0
Monday 19 November
-0.5
1,574,616 ML
2,581,850 ML
11,104 ML
1,587 ML
-11,906 ML
Monday 19 November