Major players to meet to discuss water

Cobar Shire Council and representatives of Cobar’s three major mines, CSA, Endeavor and Peak, will meet with WaterNSW staff in Cobar next week to discuss our water situation.

WaterNSW manages and operates the state’s 42 dams and storages to deliver water for environmental, domestic, town water, stock, industrial and irrigation purposes across the state.

Cobar sources its water from the Burrendong Dam (via the Macquarie River and Albert Priest Channel) and figures as of yesterday show Burrendong Dam is currently at 8.4 percent capacity (down from 18 percent in December 2018 and 81 percent in September 2017).

The drought is taking its toll with inflows of water to the dam since January 2018 reported to be the lowest in recorded history.

Cobar Shire’s general manager Peter Vlatko said council has previously met with WaterNSW staff to discuss our water security and has requested that the mines also be included at further meetings to ensure they are kept appraised of our water situation.

“The mines are major players in the community,” Mr Vlatko said.

“We need to know what our options are and the possible scenarios we face. The mines and town have to start planning for the future.

“We need to know when the trigger points are happening,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said a Macquarie-Cudegong Valley Operations update report released last month by WaterNSW gives a prediction that without significant rainfall our water will run out in December 2019.

The report shows the dam has a further three months of “dead water” after December but if rainfall is not received before March 2020 additional sources will have to be investigated.

Mr Vlatko said Cobar’s current water restrictions, which were enforced due to pump breakdowns on the pipeline, have been working and have ensured our local water storages are getting topped up.

“It’s only slightly, but we are going in the right direction,” Mr Vlatko said.