Bega Valley on the cusp of water restrictions

Elka Wood21 January 2020
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.

What's Your Opinion?

15 Responses to Bega Valley on the cusp of water restrictions

Peter Bond Peter Bond 12:14 pm 22 Jan 20

Thank you. Inoculation for climate panic.

Jodie Dunnage Jodie Dunnage 9:51 pm 21 Jan 20

They perhaps should Eden water is still suspect

Honor Northam Honor Northam 1:50 pm 21 Jan 20

Thanks for this info about the water restrictions.

Stephen Kambouridis Stephen Kambouridis 12:49 pm 21 Jan 20

Perhaps the BVSC might now rethink the ocean outfall and replace it with a 1 or 2 GL dam which would be filled with treated effluent water and reserved for fire fighting or used for irrigation.

    Julie Armstrong Julie Armstrong 1:12 pm 21 Jan 20

    Stephen Kambouridis good idea, though where would you put a 2GL dam near Pambula?

    Kali Dalton Kali Dalton 1:27 pm 21 Jan 20

    Great use of it

    Stephen Kambouridis Stephen Kambouridis 2:50 pm 21 Jan 20

    There is a pipe from the treatment plant to Oaklands already . This could be extended to Lochiel or even further. Surely there is a parcel of land that's available at the right price to build a dam. Remember, the budget for an ocean outfall IS $35 million and counting.

Jennifer Buckett Jennifer Buckett 12:31 pm 21 Jan 20

Time to reuse sewage as water surly someone can device a way that wouldn’t cost the earth.

Margie Broughton Margie Broughton 12:22 pm 21 Jan 20

The picture is Brogo dam showing 11.4% level at present.... this water supplies Quaama Cobargo & Bermagui only

    Paige Backhouse Paige Backhouse 9:42 pm 21 Jan 20

    Margie Broughton it also supplies irrigation to farms down stream too

Beverley Anne Beverley Anne 12:17 pm 21 Jan 20

I would hope that the majority of people have already introduced water restrictions in their homes and businesses. The Council doesn’t have to declare it in order for you to just do it. There’s a drought after all!

Bill Jackson Bill Jackson 11:45 am 21 Jan 20

And meanwhile BVSC continues with plans to dump 750 megalitres of usable water annually into Merimbula Bay through a new $30 to $40 million dollar ocean outfall. Is that sensible?

    Julie Armstrong Julie Armstrong 12:22 pm 21 Jan 20

    Diane McAnally the sewerage for Merimbula.

    Bill Jackson Bill Jackson 3:03 pm 21 Jan 20

    Diane McAnally You can read about it here.

    There is a community group that is lobbying Council to find ways to use the recycled water rather than dumping the world's most precious resource in the ocean. They have a Facebook page called Merimbula/Pambula Wastewater Alternatives.

Maddy Rose Maddy Rose 10:42 am 21 Jan 20

We r on restrictions in the Shoalhaven