The Shannon Creek Dam has been holding off water restrictions in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour. Photo: Lynne Mowbray / The Daily Examiner
The Shannon Creek Dam has been holding off water restrictions in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour. Photo: Lynne Mowbray / The Daily Examiner Lynne Mowbray

Region taps into dam supply

THE $180 million Regional Water Supply Project is starting to show its worth by holding off water restrictions in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour.

Shannon Creek Dam was completed in December 2008 and officially opened in July 2009 but since then there have been a series of wet seasons, meaning Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour consumers have continued to get their water from the Nymboida River.

Once flow in the Nymboida River falls below 225 megalitres a day, extraction from the river must stop and supply is pumped from the Shannon Creek Dam.

That has happened rarely since the dam opened - for a few days in January and February this year.

But now, with an extended period of low rainfall, flow in the Nymboida River has been below 225 megalitres a day consistently and the Clarence Valley water supply has come from the dam since June 28.

Coffs Harbour has been taking its supply from the dam since Friday.

It is the first time supply has been taken from the dam for an extended period.

The Shannon Creek Dam has a capacity of 30,000 megalitres (one megalitre is about equal to the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool).

As of Sunday it was at 92.6% capacity and Clarence Valley residents were consuming about 17 megalitres a day.

Permanent level one water restrictions are in place and level two restrictions are introduced when the dam falls to 70% capacity.

Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson said level two or higher restrictions would have been in place already had the dam not been built.

"We have one of the most reliable water supplies in the state," he said.

"The real value of the dam and regional water supply is now starting to become apparent.

"Still, I encourage people to continue to be conscious of their water use.

"We never know how long it will be before we get good, soaking rains, so we need to use what we have wisely."



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