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Rain adds to supply

Wednesday, 14th January, 2015

Stephens Creek reservoir is looking much improved after recent rain. Stephens Creek reservoir is looking much improved after recent rain.

By Darrin Manuel

Residents can rest a little easier knowing that recent downpours have provided the city with another three months worth of water.

Almost 50mm of rain fell over the weekend according to Weatherzone, and was followed by another shower on Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday.

The follow-up rain dumped 27mm on the city and its already-soaked surrounds, resulting in thousands of megalitres flowing into local reservoirs.

“We have received some reasonable intakes into our local storage reservoirs with the rain received Monday night,” said Essential Energy’s General Manager Far West and Water Operations, Guy Chick.

“Around 2,000 megalitres in total has been captured across all three reservoirs, representing around three months of summer treated water consumption.

“Whilst we still need more, it is certainly pleasing to report that we now have water in Stephens Creek, Imperial Lake and Umberumberka.

“In addition, we have re-opened Umberumberka to the public now that there is water in the reservoir and the risk to public safety from walking across the reservoir is gone.”

Mr Chick did not say if the intake would see water restriction lifted.

Broken Hill wasn’t the only location receiving big falls, with Fowler’s Gap enjoying the heaviest rain in its recorded history.

A rain gauge on a remote research station run by UNSW recorded 61.4mm of rain on January 9, followed by another 117.4mm the next day.

The total of 178.8mm during a 48-hour period has not occurred before during the 45 year years of rainfall measurements at Fowlers Gap.

Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries said many centres across the west had received their best falls in some time, and welcomed the good news.

But Mr Humphries said that while the rain has provided some respite for drought-stricken farmers and communities across the outback, much more is needed to make a significant difference to storage levels.

“For many western communities this rain is an extremely welcome start to the New Year,” Mr Humphries said.

“This rainfall has settled the dust, begun to replenish farm dams and rain tanks and topped up weir pools and has boosted confidence.

“While this is a very good start, we need another good week of rain to start to see significant runoff given that the rainfall was in general not particularly heavy and the catchment conditions are still relatively dry.”

Mr Humphries said it was pleasing to see Broken Hill receive a drenching, but the impact on the Menindee Lakes had sadly been minimal.

“While the rain across Broken Hill and Menindee has been extremely welcome, inflows into the Menindee Lakes from this event will be minor because the headwater catchments received minimal rainfall.

“However, rainfall directly on the Lakes has provided some small additional volume and reduced otherwise high evaporation rates.”

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