The Armidale region’s town water supply has received a slight boost from rain in January but storage levels are still at historic lows and Level 5 restrictions remain in place.
Levels in the region’s main storage, Malpas Dam, rose by about 2% to 35.6%, while the smaller Guyra Dam increased from 31% to 100%, following four days of rain throughout the region last week.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said reserves in Malpas Dam were still lower than at any time before the current drought and, with forecasts now predicting below average rainfall for the next four months, it was vital for residents and business to continue their great work conserving water.
“Two successive weekends of rain have taken Guyra Dam from empty to full capacity. However, the speed of that transformation also, conversely, highlights how quickly it can also empty when demand is high and weather turns hot,” Cr Murray said.
Council is urging residents to continue to conserve water to maintain or further reduce current water usage of approximately 135 litres per person per day.
The improved Guyra Dam level is enabling Council to temporarily halt pumping in the Malpas Dam to Guyra Pipeline.
“However, in the interests of water security for Guyra and all town water customers in the region, we must continue to treat Armidale and Guyra as a single town supply,” he said.
“Until further rainfall significantly replenishes reserves in Malpas Dam, water conservation is essential to protect our town supplies and push back day zero.
This month’s rain has extended the estimated day zero to ??? days, or March 2021.
“We are about to head into February, which is traditionally our hottest month of the year, and we are certainly not out of the woods,” Cr Murray said.
“Our experience in 2014 taught us it will take above average rain for a sustained period to restore dam storage levels.”