The past week’s torrential rains have worked wonders for Sydney’s water supplies, which have increased by around two-thirds after receiving around a year’s worth of inflows:
The news is far less positive for NSW’s inland regional centres, which received only modest rainfall and whose water supplies remain drought-stricken:
Those worries [flooding in Sydney] are a luxury for farmers such as Colin Thompson, whose dairy property outside Cowra recorded only 16 millimetres and some neighbours had just half that.
Wyangala dam – which provides water to Cowra, Forbes and Condobolin – remains at just over 8 per cent full, with many other dams and catchments dry.
“Everyone has had a tiny bit [of rain], but tomorrow the ground will be dusty again here,” Mr Thompson said.
James McTavish, NSW’s regional town water supply co-ordinator, said while the rains had brought relief to struggling coastal towns, rainfall out west had been “fairly hit and miss”.
“A lot of the storages that the major centres rely on for their water missed out,” he said, including the Burrendong Dam, which services towns like Dubbo and Cobar.
Mr McTavish said that WaterNSW was proceeding with water security plans as some major rivers remain at risk. The Macquarie River, for instance, could cease to flow as early as September if there was no more rainfall in the area.
Mark Coulton, the federal Member for Parkes, said drought-affected farmers had not been forgotten.
The below table showing Tamworth’s water supplies is indicative of the problem:
Sydney may have avoided a water disaster, but regional NSW is still in trouble.