Wa­ter cuts kick in

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - REGINA LOVIC

BUR­DEKIN ir­ri­ga­tors are fac­ing wa­ter re­stric­tions for the first time in 50 years.

Lower Bur­dekin Wa­ter Au­thor­ity and SunWater have set wa­ter re­stric­tions af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing wet sea­son, com­bined with the im­pacts of El Nino’s hot weather, which has seen the Bur­dekin face dry times and a dry dam.

The Bur­dekin Falls Dam is down to 73 per cent full, with Lower Bur­dekin Wa­ter Au­thor­ity ratepay­ers to re­ceive no­tice as early as to­day ad­vis­ing them of 50 per cent wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion as it looks to re­strict wa­ter con­sump­tion this year.

The fig­ures are based on a ninemonth wa­ter year with the Lower Bur­dekin Wa­ter Au­thor­ity an­nounc­ing a cut to ex­cess wa­ter to get the re­gion through the next six months un­til the wet sea­son starts.

SunWater said last week its ir­ri­ga­tors will face a 63 per cent wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion as of July 1, with ac­cess to an ex­tra 160,000 me­gal­itres of wa­ter car­ried over from the pre­vi­ous wa­ter year.

Bur­dekin Shire Coun­cil res­i­dents will not be fac­ing wa­ter re­stric­tions at this stage as Lower Bur­dekin Wa­ter Au­thor­ity ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer David Sar­tori said the or­gan­i­sa­tion will be mon­i­tor­ing dam lev­els over com­ing months.

“I’m ex­tremely con­cerned it will be a very se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion, it’s se­ri­ous now with the level of re­stric­tions that we’re talk­ing about ... it would be a whole lot more se­ri­ous if we don’t get a wet sea­son this year,” he said. “If it stays like this, our dam lev­els are go­ing to be ex­tremely low, and it’ll be di­a­bolic next year but you’re talk­ing about a pretty low prob­a­bil­ity event with no wet sea­son in­flows to the Bur­dekin Dam for a sec­ond year.

“It’s quite a low change how­ever we need to put a plan in place which takes that into con­sid­er­a­tion. With no wa­ter re­stric­tions, you’re prob­a­bly look­ing at five to six months ( of wa­ter al­lo­ca­tions) and that’s why it’s pru­dent to put re­stric­tions in.

“We’ll be re­view­ing the an­nounced al­lo­ca­tion ev­ery month, with the plan to re­duce those lim­i­ta­tions as early as pos­si­ble.

SunWater ser­vice de­liv­ery for ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems man­ager Colin Ben­dall said the or­gan­i­sa­tion is li­ais­ing with Bur­dekin boards.

“Wet sea­son in­flows into Bur­dekin Falls Dam dur­ing 2014- 15 were well be­low av­er­age, which has seen wa­ter lev­els in the dam steadily fall since Fe­bru­ary,” he said. “This means the medium pri­or­ity an­nounced al­lo­ca­tion at the start of this wa­ter year are lower than for the same time in pre­vi­ous years.

“An­nounced al­lo­ca­tions are made in ac­cor­dance with wa­ter shar­ing rules set by the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines via the Bur­dekin Basin Re­source Oper­a­tions Plan.”

Bur­dekin River Ir­ri­ga­tors chair­man, Mario Barba­gallo said SunWater is work­ing with ir­ri­ga­tors to max­imise al­lo­ca­tion avail­abil­i­ties at the start of the wa­ter year.

River

ir­ri­ga­tors and

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