City’s drench­ing has lit­tle im­pact on fall­ing dam level


It may have been the heav­i­est rain­fall in Syd­ney since 1984 but last week’s freak del­uge has failed to re­plen­ish the city’s wa­ter sup­ply, de­lay­ing the im­mi­nent ac­ti­va­tion of the city’s de­sali­na­tion plant by about two weeks.

De­spite Syd­ney’s monthly av­er­age rain for Novem­ber fall­ing in un­der an hour last Wed­nes­day morn­ing, un­der­whelm­ing river flows from last week’s chaotic event meant the city’s wa­ter sup­ply sat at 61.4 per cent yes­ter­day — just 1 per cent higher than it was be­fore the rain be­gan. Much of the rain was ab­sorbed by parched land, which re­duced flows into the dams.

Be­fore last week’s rain, the city’s dam lev­els dropped to as low as 60.3 per cent, just above the 60 per cent trig­ger when or­ders are sent to turn on the de­sali­na­tion plant in the city’s south. Built in 2010 at a cost of $1.8 bil­lion, the Kur­nell fa­cil­ity has never been switched on.

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