DEEP beneath the surface of Lake Keepit dam lies the history of Huntsgrove Homestead.
As the dam continues to run dry, now at just 0.4 per cent, remnants of the old homestead have begun to surface. The latest piece of history to be revealed is an old well from Huntsgrove Homestead.
The property was once owned by the prominent Fitzgerald family and largely farmed for wheat.
The well is one of a number of discoveries of the land’s past to have been made since water levels dropped below one per cent.
New Year’s Eve is usually an extremely busy time for the recreation park.
But this year bush campers have taken off in search of water, Lake Keepit Reflections Holiday Park guest services supervisor Jenni Warner said.
“It’s all dry,” she said.
“It’s had a major effect, we don’t have bush camping on the other side where people would usually go in large groups.
“We’d usually have hundreds but we don’t have those numbers at all which is understandable – it’s very tragic how low the dam is.”
Still, all of the cabins are booked out for the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations accompanied with live music from Alison Forbes.
And on Christmas, the water park still managed to draw a crowd.
“On New Year’s we just want to have a fun atmosphere for families, things like Play Doh stations, old fashioned games and a jumping castle,” Ms Warner said.
“Even though the dam levels are so low, it doesn’t seem to be what people are coming out for.
“Parents want to teach their kids to ride bikes and enjoy open spaces, even without the dam they’re still having fun.”
Keepit’s water levels are at the lowest they have been in years since 1976.
The last time it was close to this low was in April of 1995, where the dam fell below three per cent for the first time in years.
The dam is used by farmers, irrigators, recreational groups and as a tourist destination – it’s managed by WaterNSW.
This year there are no swimmers and no skiers, even the boat club has had to retire from the lake.
With weather conditions remaining hot and dry, half of the water releases are being lost, compared to the usual 30 per cent.
There is no water making it down the Namoi River as far as Walgett.
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