For the first time in fifteen months, creeks are flowing into Suma Park Dam.
A stream gauge located where Summer Hill Creek meets the dam, started showing inflow at 5pm on Saturday afternoon, and by early morning Monday was showing a flow of 60 litres a second. The last time there were natural inflows into Suma Park Dam was 22 December 2018.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said it was good to see 64 mms of rain falling in Orange from the latest rain event from Thursday to Saturday (2-4 April).
“The rain over the weekend wasn’t the heaviest falls of recent weeks, but the important thing is that the moisture profile of the soil in the area around the dam has been gradually building up,” Cr Reg Kidd said.
“The rain fell in the paddocks that feed Summer Hill Creek and Dairy Creek, south of the dam. The moisture profile there has now reached the tipping-point and is finally producing some run-off. It’s taken so long because the paddocks have been so dry.”
“It’s great news, but I’m glad we’re not only relying on flow from creeks. Our stormwater harvesting and the Macquarie pipeline have already been helping to stabilise the level of Suma Park. It shows the benefit of the decision by NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey to give us the new lower trigger-point when we can start to use the pipeline.”
Totals from March show Orange received 103 mm of rain, well above the March average of 69 mm. During March, 146 megalitres was added to Suma Park from Orange’s stormwater harvesting system and 303 megalitres came from the Macquarie Pipeline.
“Those two sources of water added 450 megalitres of water to Suma Park during a drought,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “That’s about the same amount as we used during that period. That’s what is keeping us going while we wait for the rains to come.
“It’s a sign of hope and encouragement, but we’re not out of this drought. Suma Park is sitting on 20% of capacity. We’ve got a long, long way back to go.”
Today Suma Park is at 20.06% of capacity up from 19.72% last week. Orange combined total storage is at 22.08% up from 21.55% last week.
“To have this boost to our supplies now just as we’re reaching the cooler weather is great timing. We’re starting to reach the time of the year when there’s less need to water our gardens. Our demand for water will decline and perhaps let our supplies start to build.”