Pipeline provides security

Council's southern water supply system.

Council's southern water supply system.

Council has said that good management and particularly the Yellow Pinch pipeline, has provided water security for the southern part of the shire and at this stage no water restrictions are necessary.

The news comes as neighbouring shire Eurobodalla recently moved to level 3 water restrictions.

Council's acting director assets and operations Chris Best said that Yellow Pinch Dam was currently sitting at 75 per cent.

Tantawanglo Creek is the main source of water for Yellow Pinch Dam. The Bega River, via the Bega to Yellow Pinch Dam pipeline, is another source of water for Yellow Pinch Dam and is used to fill the dam during moderate to high flows in the Bega River.

The positive level at Yellow Pinch Dam has been facilitated by the pipeline which has been used to transfer water from the Bega aquifer. However transfers can only take place while the Bega River is still flowing and Mr Best said there had been no flows in Bega town for some time.

Water restrictions will not be implemented in the southern part of the shire until Yellow Pinch reaches 60 per cent.

Mr Best said that under a worst case scenario, with no rainfall and elevated water use this would be likely in February.

Further south Ben Boyd Dam is currently sitting at 90 per cent and supplies Eden through to South Pambula. Yellow Pinch can also supply Eden but does not need to at the moment.

The Bega aquifer remains a cornerstone in the shire's water supply. Council says that a large volume of water is estimated to be stored in the Bega River alluvial aquifer, approximately 12,000 Ml in the arm of the Bega River upstream of the Brogo River confluence.

Mr Best said that the situation at the aquifer would not need reviewing until March and that would only be under the worst conditions of no rainfall and elevated summer demand.

He said it was 2010 was the last time it didn't rain until March.

However urban users of the Brogo Dam are expected to face restrictions sooner.

Brogo Dam is currently at 36 per cent and Mr Best said that under a worst case scenario restrictions for water users could come into force in January depending on weather conditions.

"When it reaches 13 per cent then the state regulator instructs downstream users not to irrigate and the water will be for stock and domestic use only," Mr Best said.

Council does not control Brogo Dam and has water sharing arrangements with the state government owned dam where 65Ml are used a day for irrigation and the environment and 1.5Ml are used for town water in the Bermagui area.

Cochrane Dam in the headwaters of the Bemboka River, recently reached its drought reserve level of 500Ml of a total capacity of 2700Ml. The dam is a privately owned hydro-electricity generation facility. Council has a water sharing plan for the Bemboka town supply which averages 0.18Ml per day out of a total release of 3.5Ml per day, the remainder being used for environmental flows, irrigation and stock use.

Council staff had proposed water restrictions but admitted that any restrictions would target only 0.3 per cent of water released per day. Mr Best said that often restrictions produced a spike in water use as people feared further restrictions along the track.

It was agreed that council should write to ministers seeking modification to water management arrangements for urban water sources that it does not control, including Brogo Dam and Cochrane Dam, to increase urban water security.

There was talk of how to improve the water security at Brogo Dam with Cr Tony Allen suggesting it would be an achievable goal to put five or six metres on the Brogo Dam, something that would need state government assistance.