WATER CRISIS OVER

WATER CRISIS OVER

THIRTEEN billion litres of water have ended a crisis that took years to develop but just a month to reverse.

Suma Park Dam is rising rapidly after years of decline and if more rain falls, Orange City Council expects total storages could hit 100 per cent capacity for the first time in five years.

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They're expected to reach 80 per cent by next week.

Incredibly, all it took to fill the dams was a few heavy downpours on an already saturated catchment.

The difference between the city's capacity a month ago and what it's expected to be next week is an extra thirteen billion litres of water.

When the 18000 megalitre Suma Park Dam and 4500 megalitre Spring Creek Dam both overflow, Orange will have enough water to last around six years.

Residents have whiplash from the city's dramatic change of fortunes, mayor John Davis said yesterday.

"It's phenomenal," he said.

"I've had people say gee, we've had 10 years of drought and it only took a month to get over it but I think the catchment has slowly been soaking up water for the last few years and then when this last lot of rain happened, we got runoff like someone has turned on a huge tap.

"All we've got to do is get another few wet days and we'll have full dams.

"But looking at the dam today there's still a long way to go."

Late yesterday, Suma Park Dam had risen to nearly 60 per cent capacity.

Total storages approached 70 per cent.

When they're at 100 per cent, Orange City Council will almost certainly introduce level one water restrictions that let residents water their lawns and gardens any day between 6pm and 9pm in summer.

Cars can be washed with a bucket and hose at any time.

It's a far cry from current restrictions where garden watering is prohibited except for just half an hour on Sundays.

Councillor Glenn Taylor said restrictions must be amended immediately.

"I don't want a ludicrous situation where in a week or two we will have overflowing dams but the people of Orange still have to go and pay to wash their car or can only water for half an hour," he said.

"I won't support any continuation of restrictions, people have earned the right to have them eased right back.

"We pay high rates, high water charges and have been exemplary with abiding by restrictions and I actually don't think that even when we do bring them back to level one or whatever, we will ever return to the days of irresponsible use of water."