DAM HEALTH VITAL
KEEPIT Dam is set to receive an influx of water this weekend in a bid to boost its dwindling supplies.
A dry winter and demand from irrigators in the lower Namoi Valley has seen the dam’s level drop to just 26 per cent.
At the same time last year, the dam was at 90 per cent of its 116-gigalitre capacity.
Despite the lack of rain, the region’s other dams – Chaffey and Split Rock – are holding up fairly well at 70 and 86 per cent of capacity respectively.
Northern Valleys water delivery manager Craig Cahill said the bulk water transfer was decided on after extensive negotiations with Manilla water users.
“The release pattern has been approved by the NSW Office of Water and has been designed to mimic natural flows where possible and was modified following feedback received at the recent public meeting held in Manilla,” he said.
“The water transfer has been delayed for as long as possible to allow for more favourable weather conditions and will continue to be monitored closely to ensure that any changes in demand due to rainfall are factored into future releases during the transfer from Split Rock Dam.”
President of the Lake Keepit Family Fishing Club Jeff Rutter said the health of the dam was vital, not just to irrigators or recreational users, but everyone in the area.
“The water belongs to the irrigators and without them the dams wouldn’t be there in the first place,” he said.
“We’re pretty lucky to be able to use that waterway, I think. The money the dams themselves contribute to the community is incredible.
“You have the accommodation through the towns, the fuel stops, the tackle shops and all sorts of businesses pick up money from people travelling to the dam.
“There are all sorts of things that pick up money from people travelling to and from dams.”
State Water said the releases will change the river’s condition and has warned people to take care when using or crossing the river.
Dam levels and dam capacity last year
Chaffey Dam 44 GL 70% 60GL 96%
Keepit Dam 116 GL 26% 384 GL 90%
Split Rock Dam 341 GL 86% 344 GL 87%
Copeton 941 GL 69% 1283 GL 94%
Pindari 196 GL 63% 264 GL 85%
Dungowan 3.58 GL 61% 5.04 GL 80%
Dam six months ago and capacity
Chaffey Dam 49 GL 80%
Keepit Dam 185 GL 44%
Split Rock Dam 349 GL 88%
Copeton 1007 GL 74%
Pindari 196 GL 63%
Dungowan 4.91 GL 78%