Town’s getting thirsty: average water use almost doubled

Average water consumption almost doubled in Tamworth Regional Council area

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE: Dungowan Dam spillway.

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE: Dungowan Dam spillway.


Dungowan Dam levels drop considerably in six months.


TAMWORTH residents have amped-up their water use, as dry weather sees dam levels drop.

Dungowan Dam has fallen below 63 per cent capacity, dropping from 99 per cent six months ago.

As the region begins to feel the heat, water users in the Tamworth area have almost doubled their water consumption since this time last year.

Tamworth Regional Council eased water restrictions to “permanent conservation measures”, the lowest possible level in early August, last year.

At that time, average consumption was around 16 to 18 megalitres a day, in Tamworth.

Consumption has since ballooned to an average of 28 to 29 megalitres a day.

While Dungowan, Tamworth’s primary water supply, has dropped below two-thirds of its maximum capacity, Chaffey Dam has also sunk to 92 per cent.

It’s hard for council to say when restrictions may be tightened as water use increases and storage declines.

“[It’s] very difficult to say and dependant on a number of factors including, how long current conditions remain and how much water irrigators draw from Chaffey,” council’s water sustainability officer Ian Lobban said.

“Chaffey Dam is owned and operated by the state government which provides water for town water supplies, river flows, domestic requirements, irrigated agriculture, industry, flood mitigation and environmental flows.

“The dam provides water supplies and drought security to the city of Tamworth and significant irrigation along the Peel Valley, including supplies used for the production of cotton, wheat, lucerne, vegetables, fruit trees, oil seeds and fodder as well as pastures for sheep and cattle.”

Level One water restrictions are triggered once Chaffey Dam falls to 40 per cent of its 100,000 megalitre capacity.

The Tamworth region has been at its lowest level of conservation measures since August 6, 2016.

February 2014 was the next previous time since the whole region was lowered to the permanent conservation measures.

There are still restrictions in place while the region is on permanent conservation measures.

Use of sprinklers, sprays, microsprays and fixed hoses is not allowed during the heat of the day, which means watering must take place between 4pm to 9am Eastern Standard Time, and between 6pm to 8am when NSW switches to Daylight Saving Time this weekend. 

There are 192 licences with a 48,292 megalitre entitlement along 590km of river:

  • General security entitlements 30,468 megalitres
  • High security/industry entitlements 973 megalitres
  • Stock and domestic requirements 177 megalitres
  • Town water supplies 16,400 megalitres (Tamworth)

The story Town’s getting thirsty: average water use almost doubled first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.


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