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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Water supply during drought

Water sources and water storages

Water for town water supply in the Bega Valley Shire depends upon:

  • Source-water river and creek flows: Towamba, Bemboka, Bega and Brogo Rivers; Tantawanglo and Couria Creeks.
  • Stored water in off-stream dams: Yellow Pinch, Ben Boyd and Tilba.
  • Stored water in alluvial aquifers:  the Bega River aquifer at Bega and Towamba River aquifer at Kiah.

Water supply during drought

Water for town water supply becomes limited during drought in the following ways:

Water sources:

  • River and creek flows diminish in response to the lack of catchment rainfall.
  • Water licence access conditions limit the amount of water that can be extracted, to protect low flows and leave more water for the environment.
  • Measured streamflows at gauging stations trigger operational actions for water extraction and water use (eg. introduction and varying of water restrictions).  

Tantawanglo Creek Weir (from upstream) November 2002

Off-stream dam storages:

  • Storage levels fall as stored water is used in lieu of source-water supplies.
  • Measured storage levels trigger operational actions for water supplied from dams and water use (eg. introduction and varying of water restrictions).

Yellow Pinch Dam November 2002 at 58% capacity

Alluvial aquifer storages:

  • Groundwater levels fall around water extraction points.
  • Water licence access conditions limit the amount of water that can be extracted, to protect surface water pools as refuges for aquatic life.
  • Measured river flows and groundwater levels trigger operational actions for water extraction and water use (eg. introduction and varying of water restrictions).

Cross section of Bega River Aquifer at Bega borefield

Drought management

The Bega Valley Shire Council Drought Management Action Plans detail the ways in which we manage our water supply systems during times of drought. The plans describe how we supply water, conserve water and reduce the demand for water during drought in order to maintain a continued water supply and meet public health and fire fighting needs.

The plans outline:

  • Monitoring locations and trigger levels for action
  • Drought stages
  • Actions for each drought stage
  • Public awareness and education requirements
  • Potential emergency water supply provisions

The Drought Management Action Plans are divided into water supply zones, depending upon the water source or storage used to supply water. Each water supply zone has its own set of trigger levels and actions.

The Drought Management Action Plan Tantawanglo-Kiah 2019-2020 is for areas served by the Tantawanglo-Kiah water supply system, including:

  • Yellow Pinch Dam water supply zone, serving Merimbula, Tura Beach, Pambula Beach, Pambula and connected rural properties between Yellow Pinch dam and Pambula
  • Kiah Borefield and Ben Boyd Dam water supply zone, serving Boydtown, Eden, South Pambula and connected rural properties between the Kiah borefield and South Pambula
  • Tantawanglo Creek water supply zone, serving Candelo, Wolumla and connected rural properties between Tantawanglo Creek weir and Yellow Pinch dam

Level 1 water restrictions are introduced for all water supply zones within the Tantawanglo-Kiah water supply system when the level in Yellow Pinch dam is less than or equal to 60%.

The Drought Management Action Plan Bega-Tathra 2019-2020 is for areas served by the Bega-Tathra water supply system (i.e., Bega, North Bega, Tarraganda, Kalaru, Tathra, Tathra River Estate, Mogareeka and connected rural properties between Bega and Kalaru), comprising a single water supply zone.

Level 1 water restrictions for the Bega-Tathra water supply system are introduced when the groundwater level in monitoring bore GWO39001 The Ranch is less than or equal to 4.5 mAHD.

The Drought Management Action Plan Brogo-Bermagui 2019-2020 is for areas served by the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system (i.e., Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Fairhaven, Beauty Point, Wallaga Lake, Akolele, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and connected rural properties between Brogo and Couria Creek), comprising a single water supply zone.

Level 1 water restrictions for the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system are considered when water releases from Brogo Dam are for high security water licence holders, riparian water users and environmental flows.

The Drought Management Action Plan Bemboka 2019-2020 is for the Bemboka water supply system (i.e., Bemboka village), comprising a single water supply zone.

Level 1 water restrictions for the Bemboka water supply system are considered upon Cochrane Dam drought reserve release.

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