A statement from WaterNSW has clarified some information surrounding controversy about plans to undertake a bulk water transfer to Burrendong Dam to Windamere Dam.
WaterNSW will undertake a bulk water transfer from Windamere Dam to Burrendong Dam as soon as November if current dry weather conditions persist, the statement says.
‘Below average rainfall and corresponding extremely low inflows have beset dams across many regions of NSW, with Burrendong sitting at 34% of capacity and Windamere 40%.’
‘Windamere and Burrendong storages provide water security for customers in the Macquarie valley.’
‘Transfers occur from Windamere to Burrendong when the storage levels drop to ensure reliability of supply to all customers.’
WaterNSW warns that water prices could increase if the users remained restricted to the Cudgegong region.
‘Water pricing in the Macquarie-Cudgegong valley is based on the total cost of operating and maintaining the two dam storages being shared by all customers. If Windamere dam was only used to supply Cudgegong valley customers, these customers would incur a significant increase in water prices,’ the report said.
‘Any eventual transfer volume would be dependent on retaining at least 70,000 mega litres of water in reserve in Windamere Dam at the completion of the transfer, as per the terms of the protocol endorsed under the valley’s water sharing plan. This volume of water will provide a minimum of seven years of water security to local customers. The last transfer between the two storages occurred in winter 2004.’
"Should the weather take a turn for the better and deliver substantial inflows into Burrendong there is every likelihood that the transfer date will be pushed further into the future once more."
‘WaterNSW is working with the new Cudgegong Valley Water Security Committee to clarify the details of – and background to - the bulk water transfer arrangement, including historic usage data usage to make future projections.’
The November transfer date would be reviewed in the event of significant rain events generating substantial inflows into Burrendong, according to WaterNSW Executive Manager System Operation and Asset Maintenance, Adrian Langdon.
“The bulk water transfer is provided for under the terms of the Macquarie-Cudgegong water sharing plan in the event of prolonged dry conditions placing water security in the Macquarie valley under pressure,” Mr Langdon said.
“At this stage, the ongoing dry conditions and absence of inflows has required our planners to revise the possible date from January 2019 forward to November this year.
“Should the weather take a turn for the better and deliver substantial inflows into Burrendong there is every likelihood that the transfer date will be pushed further into the future once more,” he said.
“WaterNSW is talking to customers and other water users including Cudgegong Valley Water Security Committee and Midwest Regional Council to ensure they are aware of the timing of the bulk water transfer and what safeguards are in place to ensure water security for Windamere users is provided for.”
This release follows plans to stage a protest at Windamere Dam by residents concerned the water transfer combined with evaporation would result in lower-than-safe water levels at the dam.