Orange City Council today started releasing water from Spring Creek Dam to improve water availability ahead of what is predicted to be a dry summer.
Spring Creek Dam is currently sitting at 67.8 per cent (3,050 megalitres) of capacity and Suma Park Dam is at 21.8 per cent (4,140 megalitres). Water will be gradually released from the dam into Gosling Creek to flow into Suma Park Dam over the next month.
Unlike Spring Creek Dam, Suma Park Dam is connected to the Icely Road Water Filtration Plant where water is treated before being used by residents.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the time was right for the transfer.
“We have had some recent rain which has turned the downstream Gosling Creek into a series of ponds and dampened the creek bed,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “This means there will be less transfer losses than if we waited until summer. There will still be some water losses but we will minimise those losses under the current conditions.”
Orange City Council’s Infrastructure Policy Committee Chair Jeff Whitton said the transfer would result in less evaporation losses over summer.
“We are transferring water from the smaller capacity Spring Creek Dam, which has a larger surface area to a larger capacity Suma Park Dam, which has a smaller surface area,” Cr Jeff Whitton said.
“While it doesn’t increase our total combined storage it will reduce evaporation losses and more importantly connect that water to the Icely Road Water Filtration Plant. That’s a connection we don’t have from Spring Creek.”
When the transfer is complete it is expected Suma Park Dam will reach approximately 29.6 per cent capacity. The release will drop the level in Spring Creek Dam to approximately 35%. The Kinross Wolaroi School, which uses the dam for rowing training, has been kept in touch with the transfer. It’s understood training will be able to continue.
Cr Kidd said the transfer was just one element in proactively managing the water supply.
“We have a very diverse system between our dams, groundwater, storm water harvesting and the Macquarie River to Orange pipeline and we can tap each of those sources when the conditions are right.
“Like much of the state, the drought is hurting here but the Orange community has responded to these conditions well in the past and I am sure they will again.”