Suma Park Dam levels yet to kick-start pipeline and stormwater harvesting

Suma Park Dam

Suma Park Dam

ORANGE’S total water storage recently hit 80 per cent, but it has not yet caused concern for Orange City Council staff.

Former councillor Neil Jones asked, given the dry weather this year and the future likelihood of rain, where the trigger point was to use the stormwater harvesting scheme or the Macquarie Pipeline and fellow former colleague Ron Gander echoed the concern.

“It appears it’s going to be a hot, dry and long summer – why not pump?” he said.

The council can pump from the Macquarie River provided Suma Park Dam dam is below 90 per cent and the river flow is at least 108 megalitres – the dam is currently at 76 per cent. 

The stormwater harvesting system can be used provided water is released into Summer Hill Creek. 

It’s not simply picking a level

John Boyd

Operations manager John Boyd told councillors staff assessed the situation quarterly, which included dam levels, water usage and weather forecasts.

“The cheapest to run is the stormwater harvesting first and the pipeline second,” he said. 

“It’s not simply picking a level.”

The Blackmans Swamp Scheme can provide up to 850 megalitres a year and the Ploughmans Valley Wetlands a further 500 megalitres. 

Mayor Reg Kidd said he was not convinced this summer would be a hot one. 

“I don’t think there’s any real reason we’re going to start running out of water,” he said. 

“It would embarrassing if we pumped and it rained next week and the dam got to 100 per cent and we spent all that money.”