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After rivers run dry, Braidwood water restrictions to be lifted

Michael Weaver 1 March 2020
Braidwood's off-river water supply and water treatment plant

Braidwood’s off-river water supply and water treatment plant. Photo: Alex Rea.

Braidwood’s water restrictions will be fully lifted next week following recent rain that has returned the town’s water supply to full capacity.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) have announced that formal restrictions in Braidwood will be fully lifted from next Friday, 6 March, after water restrictions had been slightly relaxed from level four to level three.

Braidwood had been under level four water restrictions since 10 January when an extended dry period saw the Shoalhaven River reduced to just pools and ponds. The town has been under various levels of water restrictions since the end of November when the North Black Range fire first threatened the area.

Three weeks of heavy rainfall in early February saw the Shoalhaven River begin flowing again. The river is the primary source of water for Braidwood, with Council pumping water to an off-river storage dam near the town’s water treatment plant.

QPRC Mayor Cr Tim Overall said that although formal restrictions were being lifted, residents still needed to be mindful of their water use and comply with permanent water conservation measures.

“The drought across many areas of Australia is far from broken,” Mayor Overall said.

“But since the rain in our region in early February, the Shoalhaven River has shown strong baseline flow levels that have allowed us to bring Braidwood’s off-river storage dam back up to 100 per cent capacity.”

Following the rain in February, many of the area’s creeks were flooded and flow rates were as high as 7.5 megalitres per day over the bridge at Bombay, west of Braidwood.

The Shoalhaven River at Warri, 10km west of Braidwood, is holding steady at a height of 86cms according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The river peaked just over 4m just after the recent rain.

In the nearby Budawang National Park where the Shoalhaven River flows east of Braidwood, rainfall totals were as high as 500 mm in some places.

Mayor Overall said the lifting of formal water restrictions in Braidwood does not mean that all restrictions have been removed, with permanent water conservation measures limiting water usage and reminding people not to be wasteful.

“Getting through the recent application of water restrictions is a timely reminder of how much water can be saved with a little effort and ingenuity like buckets in the shower or reusing cooking water in the garden patch.

“Residents don’t need Council to apply restrictions to continue their water-saving efforts,” the Mayor said.

Permanent water conservation measures allow the use of sprinklers and other irrigation systems to water lawns and plants, but restrict their use to between 6:00 pm and 9:00 am only. Hoses with trigger nozzles, buckets and high-pressure low-volume cleaners can be used when cleaning pavers, cars and homes.

Water restrictions in Bungendore will remain at level one for the time being, but Council is confident they will be able to be lifted after a review in mid-March.

More information about water restrictions and water conservation measures is available on the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council website.

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