Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Orange dam breaks lengthy drought

In a long-awaited sign of drought recovery, water is now flowing over the wall of Orange’s major water storage dam at Suma Park.

Orange City Council says the landmark event began yesterday afternoon and, by 9am today, there was 186mms of water spilling over the dam wall.

Orange Mayor, Reg Kidd said he was thrilled to see the milestone happen sooner than expected.

“We reached the 80% mark on 25 June, and then got to 90% only two weeks later (11 July),” Mayor Kidd said.

“There were predictions that it could take much longer to top the wall, but the ground is so wet anywhere around Orange that we’re reaping the benefit of any run-off,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling to see our biggest dam full and to see the water flowing over the spillway.”

He said the last time the dam had spilled over was in July 2016 after Orange’s previous lengthy drought.

“The community of Orange has done a fantastic job to bring us to this point. Orange residents lead the country when it comes to low water use. We wouldn’t be at this point today without their efforts,” the Mayor said.

“Despite reaching this milestone, it’s important to remember the lessons of the drought, and to be sensible about our ongoing water use. In October last year, Council adopted a set of long term water saving standards. They kicked in when we hit 80% storage and they’re still in place today.

Water overflows Suma Park dam wall.

“Notionally there is not much difference between Level Two Water Restrictions for Orange residents and out new ‘Permanent Water Savings Standards’, which replaced the traditional Level One Restrictions.

“These standards are about the change in mind-set and attitudes about water. Even when our dams are full we want to be sensible with our water use.

“Orange residents lead the way when it comes to low water use and we want to keep doing that despite flowing over the dam wall.”

He said Permanent Water Savings Standards will be in place until the water storage level drops to 70%, at which point the city would enter Level Two Restrictions.

Permanent water saving standards operate using the same criteria as the current Level Two Water Restrictions. The only difference is that there is no time restriction on car washing under permanent water saving standards.

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