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Dam levels across NSW continue to hold despite record dry winter

Michael Condon, Tuesday September 26, 2017 - 09:40 EST
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One of the world's largest, Hume Dam is still nearly full despite a record dry winter. - ABC

Despite a record dry winter and extremely warm daytime temperatures in New South Wales over the last four months, the state's dams are still relatively full.

"It is counterintuitive, I know, but despite the long dry winter with almost four months without decent rainfall the dam storages are still very high," said Tony Webber, a spokesman for Water NSW.

"The heavy rainfall and flooding seen last winter was all captured in the dams and farmers have not started to draw down any significant volumes yet.

"On-farm storages are being drawn down, but the big state-run dams are still holding between 80 and 90 per cent.

"From the point where dams are full, even if we have zero inflow, we still have between two and three years of water stored in our state dams.

Of the big dams, Hume Dam near Albury — one of the biggest in the world — is at 91 per cent, Wyangala is at 85 per cent, Blowering Dam is at 79 per cent, Burrendong is at 77 per cent and irrigation dam Burrinjuck at 61 per cent.

"With carryover being held from last year and an allocation for this year, the good news is that irrigators are well placed going into a hot summer," Mr Webber said.

"It is a good news story when many farmers have lost crops due to a lack of rain and heavy frosts.

"But there is a concern with all this prolonged dry and hot weather ... [as] the catchment right across the state is extremely dry.

"It will take more than one good rain to start seeing water flowing over the catchments into the dams.

"We would need two or three decent rain events to wet the ground before any water would flow into rivers and streams and then into the dam network."


© ABC 2017

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