Sydney dam storages are at 95 per cent of storage capacity and climbing after a concerted rain event over the weekend generated the best inflows in six months.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said Greater Sydney’s combined storage total is now 94.9 per cent of capacity, up 9.8 per cent since Friday, August 7.
But despite the impressive figures, Sydney remains under level one water restrictions.
It is anticipated restrictions will be removed before summer – allowing locals to use sprinklers again.
“Warragamba is the biggest dam on the east coast of NSW, it is the heart of Greater Sydney’s water supply and it is now sitting at 96 per cent,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Water is a precious resource and despite Warragamba being at almost 100 per cent capacity we can’t lose momentum by forgetting that every drop counts.”
While Warragamba is not expected to spill as a result of inflows generated by the most recent rain event, this is a dramatic contrast to February this year when the dam’s storage was just 42.7 per cent.
Nepean Dam and Tallowa Dam are spilling, with high rain totals in the Shoalhaven resulting in a peak spill rate from Tallowa of 375 gigalitres per day from Monday, 10 August. Wingecarribee storage is also near capacity at 99.6 per cent.
WaterNSW is making minor releases from Warragamba to prepare for any possible spill in the coming week and are working closely with Sydney Water, the NSW State Emergency Service, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and NSW Health.
Mrs Pavey said while this is a welcome relief for Sydney residents, regional communities are still feeling the effects of the recent drought.
“While Greater Sydney’s water supply is healthy, our regional catchments continue to slowly recover from one of the worst droughts on record,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Chaffey Dam is expected to reach 27 per cent, Burrendong sits at 32.2, expected to increase to 33 per cent up from 1.5 percent during the drought, and Keepit remains at 20.7 per cent up from 0.2 per cent at the height of the drought.
“We must remain vigilant in protecting this precious resource for all water users across the state.”