Water eNews January 2020

Water news

JANUARY 2020  | ISSUE #12

Drought update

Drought update

Bushfires and water supplies

The severity of the drought and recent bushfires are affecting our rural communities significantly. The quantity and quality of the state’s water resources have also been affected. Heavy rainfall following a bushfire can wash ash, debris and nutrients into waterways, which can pose a risk to water supplies.

There is information online to help manage the effects of bushfire on water supplies, including fact sheets and resources on:

Requests for water replacement

Individuals can request replacement of water taken for use during a bushfire event. Please contact the hotlines listed below:

  • Water intended for human consumption taken by a firefighting agency or contaminated by retardant may be replaced, up to a set amount. Landholders should call the Recovery Hotline on 1800 018 444.
  • For water used by a firefighting agency on animal welfare and protection grounds, call the NSW Department of Primary Industries Hotline on 1800 814 647.

Rainfall in January

In January, the state received some very welcome rainfall. Much of eastern NSW received some rain, with the heaviest rainfall in the northeast corner of the state. Due to the current extremely dry conditions and runoff, stream flows and dam inflows have been limited. Town water supplies along the North Coast and Tablelands have received some welcomed improvements.

Groundwater applications

Because of the drought, the department has received an unprecedented number of applications for groundwater bores and groundwater trades. This increase in submissions has caused a significant delay in assessing some applications. The department has engaged more staff to help assess applications.

The assessments are necessary to ensure that impacts to groundwater and other water bores can be managed.

You can track the progress of your application online via the WaterNSW website at Water Applications Online.

Read more on our drought update webpage.

Solutions found to remove arsenic in Uralla drinking water

Local officials are working quickly to address elevated arsenic levels in Uralla’s town water supply. The raised arsenic levels were detected in late November 2019 and are caused by the low water levels in the Kentucky Creek Dam.

The department’s Water Utilities team and Uralla Shire Council have worked together, reducing arsenic levels by 60% since its detection. The department investigated further and found that using granular activated carbon (GAC) will reduce the arsenic to a satisfactory level.

The department is now helping Uralla Shire Council install GAC filters at the local water treatment plant.

The NSW Government is funding the delivery of potable water to the town until the water supply meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Contact us for more information

Guidance for pumping tests on water bores

Pump test

The department’s guide on how to carry out pumping tests on water bores is now available online. Applicants who want to extract large volumes of groundwater from a bore or water supply work may need to carry out a pumping test. This guide gives the pumping test requirements.

Even if you’re not asked to carry out a pumping test, it’s often a good idea. It can help you understand the performance of a water bore and its effect on the groundwater source and other water users. A properly conducted pumping test can help in selecting the correct pump size, setting the pump depth and determining the future pumping rate.

See our webpage for more information.

Drought break boost for regional youth

Drought break program

Government and community organisations worked together to bring free events to young people in regional NSW during January. The events gave a much-needed dose of fun to those in drought-affected areas.

A range of activities, such as the disco held in Moree, sports camps at Lake Keepit, Wagga Wagga and Jindabyne, and AFL sports clinics were just a few of the events offered to youth across the state during the school holidays.

Training was also offered to help up-skill young people in drought areas. A variety of courses including barista training, first aid, and coding workshops were run.

For more information, see the Drought Break program website.

Share your savings

What are your favourite ways to save water? Whether it’s catching extra water in the kitchen sink to use on the garden or using a cup of water for rinsing your toothbrush, we want to hear your favourite ways to save.

  • Share your water savings tips

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Water News is our monthly update on water planning, management and reform in NSW. If you have any questions or feedback contact us at:

NSW Government – Water Relations
Phone +61 2 9338 6600