By John Bell
Gladstone residents still face a drought restricted ‘Low Water Supply Alert’, despite torrential downpours of rain over the past two weeks.
The Awoonga Dam water level is only at 58 per cent, despite water levels rising by 1.5 metres in less than a week and Gladstone residents have been asked to save water.
Gladstone Area Water Board chief executive officer Darren Barlow explained that just because people see green parks and gardens, they may not realise that capacity at Awoonga Dam continues to fall and that the Gladstone region remained drought declared.
“Gladstone’s Water Board won’t rule out formal supply restrictions if the coming wet season doesn’t deliver significant rainfall, although water levels have increased by more than eight percent since November 22,” he said.
“The Low Supply Alert was declared earlier this year following prolonged drought conditions and three consecutive failed wet seasons.
“Gladstone residents must be mindful of their water consumption and the Low Supply Alert remains place despite promising water inflows.”
However, he said that there is no danger of Gladstone running out of water, explaining that under the Drought Management Plan, the Low Water Supply Alert is still declared when there is five years reliable water supply remaining in Awoonga Dam.
“The Met. Bureau is predicting a wetter than average summer, but our message remains the same, as we all need to play our part and make every drop count.
“Our alert will remain until more stringent level one supply restrictions are deemed necessary or, alternatively, when there are significant inflows and it can be removed.”
“But as the weather warms up, we typically see increased water consumption across the region, so we’re asking everyone to be aware and make every drop count this summer.
“Long term water security in the Gladstone region is our number one priority and we’re working with our community, industrial customers and the Queensland Government to respond to water supply challenges brought on by drought, climate change and customer demand.”
In positive news, Mr Barlow said Gladstone Area Water Board had begun downstream water releases for the first time since 2016.
Under the Awoonga Dam Resource Operations Licence, GAWB is required to start downstream water releases following four or more consecutive days where inflows are greater than 3210 megalitres a day.
“These releases are very controlled and highly regulated to ensure we balance dam capacity, environmental compliance and, of course, the health and safety of our downstream neighbours,” he said.
“The purpose of releasing water is to manage and maintain the environmental health of the waterways downstream of Lake Awoonga. It’s a matter we take very seriously.”
The Pikes Crossing community located downstream of Awoonga Dam is urged to remain aware of changing water levels.