Council adopts new Drought Management Plan

Armidale Regional Council has taken a critical step in securing the region’s town water supply after it adopted its updated Drought Management Plan at the February 24 Council Meeting.

Armidale Regional Council General Manager James Roncon said the plan harmonises the previously separate Armidale and Guyra Drought Management Plans, and outlines strategies to minimise the impact of drought on town water users.

“By having a roadmap established, we hope to avoid a year like 2019 where nil inflows into Armidale and Guyra’s dam storages meant emergency restrictions had to be introduced,” said Mr Roncon.

“The plan is a way to ensure the community is informed about issues associated with drought management, and the role residents need to play during times of drought.”

After seeking community input last year, Council has identified key short and long term actions that can be taken to preserve town water supply.

Strategies include new guidelines for when water restrictions are triggered and identifying when certain actions need to be taken.

“This trigger system will eliminate any uncertainty when it comes to implementing restrictions and deciding when the right time is to relax or tighten rules around water use,” said Mr Roncon.

“By having a clear roadmap, it will be easier to communicate to residents the value of water and how important it is to use it wisely in times of drought.”

There are also a number of long term strategies, including increasing the capacity of Malpas Dam, utilising potential groundwater, and renewing the Puddledock transfer main under the NSW Government’s Safe and Secure Funding programme.

“The plan also outlines ways to prepare for drought, including continuous monitoring of water sources, having data readily available, and closely monitoring climate outlooks,” said Mr Roncon.

“We will continue to work closely with the community to ensure the Drought Management Plan accurately reflects the needs and capabilities of residents and businesses.”

A recovery strategy is also in place to ensure the region bounces back from drought as quickly as possible.

“This plan is vital to the prosperity of our region and will ensure we are not put in a vulnerable position,” said Mr Roncon.

The plan will be made available on the water restrictions page on Armidale Regional Council’s website.

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