Changes to Kempsey Shire water supply source

Declining river levels and continued dry weather will see Kempsey Shire Council switch its water supply source from the Sherwood Borefield to the Steuart McIntyre Dam this week.

The cooler weather has significantly improved the dam’s water quality and the change in supply will help Council to delay implementing stricter water restrictions.

Council’s General Manager, Craig Milburn, said the flow levels in the Macleay River have dropped significantly in recent weeks and are now hovering around the trigger point for Level 3 water restrictions.

“The cooler weather has resulted in a decline in algae growth that we’ve experienced in Steuart McIntyre Dam in the past and a return to normal water conditions,” he said.

“Sourcing water from the dam will enable Council to continue Level 2 water restrictions for longer within our current water extraction licence limit.”

Under the change, Council will pump up to 8.5 megalitres a day from the Sherwood Borefield to top up the dam where the water will be treated before being distributed to reservoirs across the Shire.

Residents in Kempsey and the Lower Macleay may notice a slight difference in the taste of the water with the change in supply source.

The changeover will also create some turbulence in the water pipes that can result in temporary discoloured and turbid water. If this occurs, householders are advised to run a tap into a bucket until the water turns clear and then distribute the excess water for outdoor use.

“Current water quality in the dam is compliant with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is tested daily,” Mr Milburn said.

“We will continue to closely monitor river flows and water consumption and advise the community of any further changes.”

Level 2 water restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

Council has a range of legislated enforceable measures available but is asking residents and business to adhere to the restrictions to help manage local water usage.

For some handy tips for saving water in and around the home visit

Aerial view of Steuart McIntyre DamKempsey Shire Council is sourcing its water from the Steuart McIntyre Dam as river levels continue to drop

/Public Release. View in full here.