Water storage in Hunter full after generation

Water storage in dams and sandbeds in the Hunter region are full for the first time in 30 years

Significant rainfall across the region this winter has seen Hunter Water mark a milestone. For the first time in more than 30 years, all of its water storage is at 100 per cent capacity.

“We are fortunate to have full storage leading into spring and summer. This is when community water use is typically at its highest,” a Hunter Water spokesperson told the Examiner.

“While this places us in a good position for the warmer months, we must continue to use water wisely around our homes and businesses to ensure our storages remain full for longer.

“Our water levels drop faster than most other major Australian urban centres during hot, dry periods. This is because we have shallow water storage and high evaporation rates. The recent severe drought saw our water storages halve in two-and-a-half years.”

As of Monday, July 25, Grahamstown Dam, the Lower Hunter’s largest drinking water supply, Chichester Dam and the Tomago and Anna Bay sandbeds were at maximum capacity.

Future water storage needs

It is a turnaround from where the Lower Hunter was two years ago. At that point, water storage levels had dropped to a 40-year low and level two water restrictions were introduced.

The drought saw Hunter Water’s storage almost halve from July 2017, when they were at 96 per cent capacity, to 52.5 per cent in February 2020.

As of Tuesday, July 26, the Williamtown weather station had recorded 354mm of rainfall this winter. Hunter Water’s storage levels peaked at 100 per cent on July 4 and have remained there.

As for what happens should the region receive more rain, the Hunter Water spokesperson said its dams had been designed to “fill and spill” while continuing to supply communities with water.

Ongoing rain will keep the dams and sandbeds topped up closer to summer. Hunter Water highlighted that ongoing rain is challenging for those in low-lying areas due to water logging and ponding.

Hunter Water added that Grahamstown Dam is off-river storage, and it isn’t unusual for it to reach 100 per cent capacity due to local runoff.

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