AFTER months of minimal flows in the Macquarie River, rain has allowed Orange City Council to start topping up Suma Park Dam.
Thursday marked the first day the Macquarie River reached the revised 38-megalitre trigger point since state government announced the approval earlier in the week.
On Monday, only three megalitres passed through the river at Long Point where the pipeline is connected.
Mayor Reg Kidd said following weekend storms in the catchment area of the Turon and Macquarie Rivers together with the Winburndale Rivulet, the new trigger point was reached overnight on Wednesday and the pumps turned on automatically.
He said he was delighted to see water flowing into Suma Park Dam.
We've been watching the river levels rise in the Turon and the Macquarie since the weekend and it's looking like there'll be a couple of days of pumping possible this week.Mayor Reg Kidd
"Even though the heaviest of the weekend storms missed Orange, there were good falls in the bigger catchment area that we're connected to by this pipeline," he said.
"This pipeline is designed to let Orange benefit when there is good rain in the wider Macquarie River catchment area, and with this new lower trigger we're hoping to use it more often."
Cr Kidd said every day the council could pump would help push back the day Orange might transfer to level six water restrictions.
"We've been watching the river levels rise in the Turon and the Macquarie since the weekend and it's looking like there'll be a couple of days of pumping possible this week," he said.
"We can only pump a maximum of 12 megalitres a day, so that leaves plenty of water in the Macquarie for the areas downstream to use.
"Because our total daily water use is now between eight and 10 megalitres a day, we're having a couple of days where we're adding more water to storage than we're using."
Orange's total storage is currently at 21.3 per cent, while Suma Park Dam's level has reached 19.4 per cent.
The council previously needed 108 megalitres a day of flow through the river in order to pump from the Macquarie River.
As of last week, residents were using an average of 129 litres per person per day.
The same time last year, the average was 224 litres per person per day.
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