The Armidale region will remain in Level 5 water restrictions until dam storage levels increase significantly or long-term weather forecasts indicate firm prospects for great water security, according to a report to Wednesday’s Council meeting.
The report, which was noted by the meeting, says the restrictions will be reviewed again when the Bureau of Meteorology releases its summer rainfall outlook, which is due in August, or if dam levels rise substantially.
Dam levels and climate conditions have improved since January but the region’s main water storage, Malpas Dam, has only recovered to 55% of capacity, compared to 41% when Level 5 restrictions were implemented and 48% in July 2019, the report says.
Water restrictions were introduced in Guyra in February 2019 and extended to Armidale the following month. They were progressively stepped up as levels in Malpas Dam and Guyra Dam continued to fall, with Level 5 implemented for the whole region in October.
Restrictions remain at Level 5 for all households and businesses and can be viewed on the Water Restrictions page of Council’s website.
Armidale’s rainfall total for 2019, just 306.6mm, was the lowest since instrumental rainfall recording began 130 years ago and was substantially less than the previous lowest total, 460mm in 1982.
“As we have stated before, this region is still officially in drought and we cannot consider ourselves to be out of the woods with our water security until there are much more positive predictions of considerable rain or until we actually see levels fully restored in the regional water storage,” Council’s Director – Business and Services, Scot MacDonald, said.
“We greatly appreciate and have acknowledged the wonderful job our households and businesses have done to reduce their consumption.
“Council’s primary responsibility as the region’s town water supplier is to ensure our customers continue to have a secure supply for essential needs. We are taking every viable step to achieve that goal, with Council’s own activities and in working with the community to curb overall consumption.”