WaterNSW has begun transferring water from Lake Pamamaroo to Copi Hollow, while block banks constructed on the Lower Darling extend essential water supplies to landholders.
Block banks built to create weir pools at Jamesville and Ashvale are approximately half full, providing water for stock and domestic needs, as well as sustaining permanent plantings.
Two additional block banks will be constructed upstream once sufficient water is collected in the Jamesville and Ashvale weir pools.
Transfers totalling 10,000 megalitres from Lake Pamamaroo to Copi Hollow will occur at a rate of up to 300 megalitres per day (ML/day) and continue into November 2018 to extend supply to Broken Hill until at least mid-March 2019 without any replenishment inflows.
This water efficiency measure is consistent with WaterNSW’s operations plan and is intended to reduce surface area, and therefore evaporation, as the lakes’ total falls to 9.7 per cent and inflows remain absent.
The lakes currently hold a combined total of 135,000ML: 105,000ML in Lake Pamamaroo and 30,000ML in Lake Wetherell. Releases continue from Pamamaroo at a rate of 260ML/day to target a flow rate of 220ML/day at Weir 32.
Once constructed, the four block banks – funded by the NSW Government – will extend supply for stock and domestic water, and permanent plantings for up to 12 months.
A WaterNSW spokesperson said the difficult conditions being experienced in the Lower Darling and the absence of flow in major northern tributaries were a direct result of the enduring dry conditions across the northern half of regional NSW.
“The block banks are already providing vital water to Lower Darling landholders who would otherwise be reduced to making do with dwindling river flows and the prospect of zero flows post December without significant inflows to the lakes.”