Suma Park Dam drops below 60 per cent

NOT THERE YET: Geoff Warren at Suma Park Dam in 2007 when overall storage level was at 44 per cent capacity, prior to the raising of the dam wall. The current reading is almost 62 per cent.
NOT THERE YET: Geoff Warren at Suma Park Dam in 2007 when overall storage level was at 44 per cent capacity, prior to the raising of the dam wall. The current reading is almost 62 per cent.

WATER supply storage levels are at their lowest in two years, but Orange’s mayor is not concerned yet, encouraging residents to keep doing what they’re doing. 

Overall storage hit 61.8 per cent as of Friday, with Suma Park Dam dipping to 56.8 per cent.

Stormwater harvesting has accounted for more than half of the raw water top-ups for Suma Park since Orange City Council started acting on dry weather.

Since December, about 96 megalitres of stormwater has been harvested, with 45 megalitres coming from the Macquarie Pipeline and 30 megalitres from bores at Clifton Grove and Orange Showground.

Most of the intake from the pipeline came in December, with none taken in January and two megalitres taken in February. 

The bores’ use increased during the three-month period, from nine megalitres in December to 13 megalitres in February. 

However, residential water usage also spiked above the recommended 240 litres per person per day for level two water restrictions, with usage rising to 320 litres in January and about 280 litres in February and March. 

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Mayor Reg Kidd said aside from the spikes, people were generally keeping to restriction levels.

“Level two restrictions are working very well,” he said. 

“People are mindful I think – I can’t recall seeing a sprinkler on a lawn last month.”

Cr Kidd said level three water restrictions would not come into force until storage hit 50 per cent. 

Level three restrictions were last introduced in 2007, including a ban on watering lawns and a limit on watering garden beds and plants to one hour in the morning and one hour at night. 

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Cr Kidd said. 

“But we need good substantial rain of 25 millimetres to get good runoff.”

The dam hit full capacity in October 2016, but has been dropping steadily since the following December, apart from two bouts of rain in March and December last year. 

The contractors who raised the dam wall have been fixing minor defects, adjusting sealing rubbers and repairing concrete cracks.

Storms and showers bringing up to five millimetres are expected on Friday through to Sunday.

What do level two restrictions entail? Click here to find out.

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