Council working to secure Wellington's water security

Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard discussions about the water security of the Dubbo region. It’s no secret the drought has taken a toll on Burrendong Dam and it is currently sitting at 4 per cent of its capacity.

Wellington, along with the entire region, is already on level 2 water restrictions but on Monday night Councillors voted to move to level 3 restrictions from Tuesday, 1 October and from there to level 4 on 1 November.

This will require everyone to make changes to the way they use water around the home, and will provide opportunities for people to be smarter to maximise what they can do around the house with their allocation of 295 litres per person, per day.

This is essential as the level of Burrendong Dam continues to fall. Council is managing a tough situation in Wellington because the town currently receives all of its water from Dam. There is an allocation of 350 megalitres per annum for the town from a bore that currently isn’t in operation at Montefiores.

Council is focusing significant resources on exploring its options. This is a priority because Water NSW has notified customers including Council that in a worst case scenario, the Macquarie River will “cease to flow” on 1 May 2020. Essentially, if there has been no rain or no inflows to Burrendong, Council will be unable to draw from the River after that date and would have to find alternative sources of water to provide to residents.

The current bore would be unable to meet the needs of Wellington if the River did stop flowing. It would supply between a quarter and a third of the town’s needs, depending on the water restrictions level at the time. That is why it is critical that other water supply options are being explored.

One of the major options is a pipeline between Burrendong Dam and Wellington, as way to access water from the Dam’s dead storage (water that can’t be sent down the Macquarie River). Another option is extending Dubbo’s supply from Wongarbon to Wellington. Preliminary design work had already been undertaken to extend from Wongarbon to Geurie so this would be an expansion of the project to have it ready should funding become available.

Council will investigate every opportunity, and you can rest assured Wellington won’t be left without water. However we are also asking residents to work with us to reduce their water usage to extend the supply left within for Burrendong for as long as possible.

To start with, there should be a major focus on reducing outdoor water. Under level 3 restrictions, water systems, non-fixed and fixed sprinklers are no longer allowed to be used for watering of lawns or gardens. Drip systems, soaker hoses, and handheld hoses with triggers are permitted every second day on the odds and evens system between 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm during winter time and 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm during summer time. There is no hosing of walls or paved surfaces.

For more details, visit https://www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au/DroughtHub/.

Last Edited: 25 Sep 2019

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