Approximately 60 Lake Cargelligo community members have attended a WaterNSW information session on future contingency measures should drought conditions persist in the Lachlan valley.

Wyangala Dam storage currently sits at 17 per cent storage capacity and has enough water to meet supply in the valley through to July 2020, even under a worst-case scenario.

But WaterNSW is looking at options to extend supply through winter and spring to October 2020, to maximise the chances of inflows, which typically are more likely to occur during the cooler months.

Those in attendance were advised that the options being assessed across the valley by WaterNSW include the possibility of reducing inflows into Lake Cargelligo in early 2020 if necessary.

WaterNSW Executive Manager, Adrian Langdon, said WaterNSW is adopting a very conservative approach to the drought and planning for the possibility of zero inflows in light of what is being experienced in the northern river valleys.

“If we do not get significant rainfall between now and the end of next winter the impact on the whole valley will be severe,” Mr Langdon said.

“We want to ensure we are fully aware of the impact on the local community and to look at ways to mitigate the impact – however without rain and inflows the reality is there will be impacts.”

With Wyangala Dam storage at 17 per cent capacity there remains flexibility to make significant water savings by implementing operational changes no longer possible in other drought-impacted valleys.

All major towns in the Lachlan valley potentially have access to alternative supply sources and WaterNSW is working closely with local councils to extend supply from the dam to give communities ample time to ensure standby supply is ready.

Carryover has already been reduced to 57 per cent availability and flows into regulated Willandra Creek will be cut in December to reduce transmission losses.

The NSW Government has announced $659 million to raise Wyangala dam wall.

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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