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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 Plan details the ways in which we manage our water supply systems during times of drought. The plan describes 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 plan defines:

  • Monitoring source waters, storages and water demand requirements
  • Reporting requirements
  • Public awareness and education requirements
  • Drought stages for each supply system
  • Actions for each drought stage
  • Potential emergency water supply provisions

Did you know?

That 2009 was the driest year on record in Bega with only 347mm recorded. Below average rainfall was recorded for 11 of the 12 years prior to 2009, making it one of the driest periods on record. In 2010, 1020mm of rain was recorded in Bega and flooding experienced in February, breaking a prolonged period of drought in the Bega Valley Shire.

 

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