Orange City Council is pumping water from the Macquarie River for the first time since the NSW Government announced its approval of a new lower trigger-point.
On Monday this week, the Government announced it had approved the application for the Council to pump when the flow-rate in the river reached 38 megalitres a day, instead of the former trigger point of 108 megalitres a day.
Following weekend storms in the catchment area of the Turon and Macquarie Rivers together with the Winburndale Rivulet, the new trigger-point was reached overnight Wednesday and the pumps turned on automatically.
Mayor Reg Kidd said he was delighted to see water flowing into Suma Park Dam.
“The beauty of this pipeline is that even though the heaviest of the weekend storms missed Orange, there were good falls in the bigger catchment area that we’re connected to by this pipeline,” Cr Reg Kidd said.
“This pipeline is designed to let Orange benefit when there is good rain in the wider Macquarie River catchment area, and with this new lower trigger we’re hoping to use it more often. Every day we can pump is helping to push back the day when we might go to Level 6 water restrictions.
“We’ve been watching the river levels rise in the Turon and the Macquarie since the weekend and it’s looking like there’ll be a couple of days of pumping possible this week.
“We can only pump a maximum of 12 megalitres a day, so that leaves plenty of water in the Macquarie for the areas downstream to use. Because our total daily water use is now between 8 and 10 megalitres a day, we’re having a couple of days where we’re adding more water to storage than we’re using.
“While Orange’s total storage is down to 21%, the level of Suma Park has now reached 19.4%. We’ve got a long way to go ahead of us to get through this drought, but changes like this new trigger point come as a big encouragement to the people of Orange.”