21 January 2020

Bega Valley on the cusp of water restrictions

| Elka Wood
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Brogo dam. Facebook.

Brogo dam. Photo: Facebook.

About Regional has received many inquiries as to why the Bega Valley has no current water restrictions, given the ongoing drought conditions, drying impact of bushfire and the assumed impact of using freshwater reserves for firefighting over the last few weeks.

The low level of Brogo dam has been a particular concern to residents with Bega Valley Shire Council’s website reporting that it is currently at 11.7% capacity.

This is in stark contrast to other major water stores in the Bega Valley, with Ben Boyd dam sitting at 84% and Yellow Pinch Dam at 66.3%.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Water Resources Coordinator, Ken McLeod, is drafting a council report this week, which will recommend that the shire adopt water restrictions.

“Dam levels, the groundwater level in Bega and usage patterns will be part of the report, with recommendations for water restrictions in accordance with our Drought Management Action Plan trigger points,” Ken says.

Low water levels in Brogo dam have already impacted those with irrigation licences downstream.

From January 11, Water NSW advised that general security irrigation availability will no longer be available, allowing water to be saved for town water supply.

Brogo dam is drying up. Photo: Matt Creek, Facebook.

Brogo dam is drying up. Photo: Matt Creek, Facebook.

Water for town water supply in the Bega Valley Shire depends upon source-water river and creek flows from the Towamba, Bemboka, Bega and Brogo Rivers and the Tantawanglo and Couria Creeks.

Stored water in off-stream dams is held at Yellow Pinch, Ben Boyd and Tilba dams and the Bega River and Towamba River aquifer’s also hold water.

Bega Valley Shire Council has a lot of its plate, with fires still burning throughout the shire.

Ken says he is focused on the Brogo catchment and water supply, where there is currently active fire.

The Bega Valley Shire is on permanent Waterwise measures, which are “simple, voluntary, common sense, every day actions for users of town water to help conserve water supplies,” and include using fixed water systems at times of low evaporation, like early morning or evening and washing cars and boats with a bucket and over grass or ground which can absorb the water.

Brogo dam, taken late December 2019. Photo: Will Stewart, Facebook.

Brogo Dam, taken late December 2019. Photo: Will Stewart, Facebook.

Until the paperwork goes through and the valley is on enforceable water restrictions, you can jump in early and follow Bega Valley Shire Council’s water restriction rules.

It’s obvious to most of us that we need to conserve the water we have, so don’t wait to be told.

Do your bit by cutting down your shower time, fixing leaks, using your greywater to water plants, mulching your garden heavily, giving up on green lawns and only running full loads of laundry and dishes.

The next Bega Valley Shire council meeting is Wednesday, January 30th and will address water restrictions.

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Paolo Colombo2:04 pm 22 Jan 20

Seeing our Bermagui neighbours running water liberally for a kids water slide and be.ing told that it’s none of my business when I pointed out water shortages in the Bega Valley, I wonder how one can educate some people in saving our precious water supply. Come along water restrictions!!!

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