Improved conditions over the last few months has led to general security allocations for water users in the Lachlan of 28 per cent, Macquarie-Cudgegong 12 per cent and 4.2 per cent in Lower Namoi regulated river water sources, the first time since August 2017.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said that recent rainfall has slowly started to increase storage levels in central and upper western NSW dams, reflects modest, but very welcome general security allocations.
“It is a relief to see parts of regional NSW slowly recovering from this hard drought. The Lachlan has seen significant system inflows in August, the last month the valley received about 400 gigalitres of increased storage,” Mrs Pavey said.
“In the Macquarie-Cudgegong valleys, Burrendong Dam received inflows totalling 161,000 megalitres (ML) during August, enabling an allocation to general security entitlement holders for the first time in over three years. In addition, DPIE-EES has reported over 45,000 hectares of the Macquarie Marshes, including the critical northern reedbed and Ramsar listed areas, have been inundated with water.
“While in the Namoi Valley, average rainfall during August continued to provide inflows on the back of rainfall the previous month. Keepit and Split Rock dams received 28GL and 1.7GL respectively during the month.”
Mrs Pavey said while Split Rock storage remains low and offers limited resilience if conditions again turn very dry, critical requirements for Manilla and Barraba townships are now secure for the next 24 months, based on assumed minimum future inflows to the dam.
In the Southern Basin allocations improved today with Murrumbidgee allocations for general security entitlements increasing by 2 per cent. This brings the total to 46 per cent. There was a 3 per cent increase to all general security water users in the NSW Murray today bring the total to 15 per cent and on the Lower Darling General Security allocations remained on 30 per cent.
“The improved climatic conditions mean that there are no communities currently at ‘critical’ drought levels. At the state of this year there were over 50 communities across NSW listed as ‘critical’.
“While the recent rain has been a relief to some valleys across the state, the drought is still being felt across the state and the upcoming summer could once again prove difficult for water users,” Mrs Pavey said.