8 January 2020

Council to cart water to Braidwood as town dries up

| Ian Bushnell
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drought and bushfires

The main street of Braidwood. The drought and bushfires mean the town’s water supply is drying up. Photo: File.

Potable water is to be trucked to Braidwood and restrictions raised to the highest level possible as the drought and bushfires take their toll on the town’s water supply.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has announced that from Friday (10 January) water restrictions in Braidwood will escalate to Level 4 and the council will begin transporting potable water to the town next week.

The council will also turn of the tap for the town’s public parks and gardens.

It said the extended dry period, and pressure placed on local water sources from bushfires in the area, has seen Braidwood’s off-river water storage drop to a concerning level.

It estimates that pumping from the Shoalhaven River will no longer be possible after 10 January, leaving only the off-river storage for town use. That storage currently sits at around 82 per cent of the 72ML capacity and is reducing by about 1 per cent every two to three days.

The council said that depending on the size of available trucks, up to five or six trucks will continuously deliver water to Braidwood for about 10 hours each day, including weekends.

It is asking the State Government to help cover the costs of water carting.

The average daily usage in Braidwood has been around 490kL since the move to Level 3 restrictions. Under the new restrictions the daily target is 280kL, compared to 360kL per day under Level 3.

QPRC CEO Peter Tegart said: “We are in an extraordinary dry spell. The combination of bushfires and ongoing drought continues to place pressure on our potable water supplies. The past few months have been very challenging for Braidwood, with drought, bushfire and water all causing much concern in the community and with Council.”

The council made town water available to rural property owners for domestic use, then introduced water restrictions in November, because of the ongoing lack of rain and greater than expected usage due to the bushfire emergency.

It has already suspended all grading to conserve water usage and will now cease all watering of parks and gardens in Braidwood. The Braidwood Pool will remain open until the end of the school holidays, however this will be reviewed at the end of the holidays.

The drought tap at Bicentennial Park, which allows farmland residents to obtain up to 1,000 litres of potable water per day, will remain open, however Council will increase monitoring to ensure it is being used responsibly. Drought taps at Bungendore and Captains Flat also remain open.

Bungendore will remain on Stage 1 restrictions. The Stage 1 target is 1,060kL per day. Current water consumption is approximately 1,600kL per day. Staff will continue to monitor bore performance and ground water levels.

Captains Flat and Queanbeyan will remain on permanent water conservation measures. Queanbeyan’s water is sourced from Icon Water and usage complies with ACT water restriction policy.

Full details about Level 4 water restrictions for Braidwood, plus a useful ‘Target 150’ personal water usage guide, is available on the QPRC website at: www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/water-restrictions

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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