WaterNSW has imposed temporary restrictions on Macquarie Valley water accounts as a result of the drought conditions.
Macquarie Valley general security customers can only access 70 per cent of the water that was available in their accounts on July 1. The remaining 30 per cent will be held in a drought sub-account. The restrictions will apply until there are further inflows to Burrendong Dam.
Water can only be traded from the 70 per cent allocation to ensure it can be delivered.
WaterNSW system operation and asset maintenance executive manager Adrian Langdon said the measures were taken as a result of the drought which had been the worst on record.
“While we understand this may have an impact on customers’ business plans, it is unfortunately necessary,” he said.
Mr Langdon said Inflows to Burrendon Dam since August 2017 were a “meagre 30 gigalitres (GL)” which was 27 per cent less than the previous lowest inflows of about 111GL.
He said the historically-low inflow had created a new drought record for Burrendong Dam.
“It has resulted in insufficient water being available in the dam for WaterNSW to deliver all water currently held in general security carryover accounts,” Mr Langdon said.
“Unfortunately, as inflows have been well below the minimum forecast, the water stored in Burrendong Dam at the start of the water year is less than what was forecast when the last available water determination was announced in August 2017.
“This means that we do not have the volume of water available to meet all the water carried over in 2018/2019.”
Mr Langdon said the restrictions would help conserve available water to ensure customers were being treated consistently across the Macquarie Valley.
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“We have been communicating with customers for several months about reserving a decision until after the winter period where typically replenishment inflows are generated,” he said.
“For an unprecedented second consecutive winter those inflows have not occurred.
“In the current exceptional circumstances it is prudent to quarantine some of this water until adequate inflows are received to ensure critical community supply is guaranteed. Once adequate inflows are received the 30 per cent in reserve will become available to customers.”
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