By Jeremy Sollars
Tenterfield Shire Council has announced it will remove water restrictions “entirely” for Tenterfield as of today, Friday 14 February, as a result of recent rainfall.
In a statement released earlier today Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty said “in the early hours of this morning the Tenterfield Dam overtopped the wall sending a wondrous cascade of water down into Tenterfield Creek below”.
“On Thursday afternoon a continuous stream of vehicles visited the dam which indicates the level of interest and the relief that the community is feeling as the water level continued to rise and the rain continued to fall,” Cr Petty said.
“In line with Council’s current Drought Management Plan myself, Deputy Mayor Greg Sauer and the Chief Executive Team took the decision to remove water restrictions entirely for Tenterfield from 11.15 am today (Friday 14 February).
“Council will consider the Drought Management Plan in the months to come and may consider reintroduction of low level water restrictions to keep the value of water front and centre with our community.
“Redesign and reinforcement works undertaken in 2018 on the dam wall are working perfectly.
“The cascade effect, as well as looking spectacular, ensures that the level of flow is dispersed over a wider area and the onflow into Tenterfield Creek is subsequently lessened.
“Our dam is at 100%!
“The lifting of spirits around the town is tangible and a real feeling that we can now move on from the dark days of 2019.
“2020 will truly be a year of renewal for Tenterfield Shire.
“Unfortunately, water restrictions for other areas of our Shire remain, being:
• Critical Water Restrictions for residents of Jennings
• Level 4 Water Restrictions for Urbenville.”
The Tenterfield announcement comes as Southern Downs councillors are expected to discuss our own region’s water restrictions at their February meeting in Warwick next Wednesday 19 February.
The Free Times asked the Southern Downs Regional Council last weekend if water restrictions would be lifted or relaxed following the rainfall in recent days, with a spokeswoman saying the current ‘emergency’ level restriction of 80 litres per person per day would be “assessed”, but did not indicate any change was likely.
Meanwhile Goondiwindi Regional Council this week said its councillors would likewise “assess” that region’s water restrictions at their next meeting, on Wednesday 26 February.
But Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu warned that “more rain may be needed before restrictions are lifted”.
“Recent rains have proved a great boost to much of the region and it’s been brilliant to see,” Cr Scheu said this week.
“But the inconsistency of where that rain has fallen makes things challenging.
“We’ve had good falls around the Dumaresq, Macintyre and Weir Rivers and the Macintyre Brook, but are waiting for confirmation from SunWater, Water NSW and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to confirm the supply that has flowed into each town’s storage.
“For example, the Goondiwindi catchment has seen a good rise in the Macintyre River at Boggabilla and Goondiwindi, but there has been very little rain in the upper catchment.
“Water is still flowing so it’s difficult to say right now how it will impact our storages, but we will gain a fuller understanding of its impact in the next week or so.
“Under (Goondiwindi) Council’s Drought Management Plan, the different levels in water restrictions are dependent upon the amount of water available in storage for each town.
“There may be little point relaxing restrictions where we are only just above the storage requirements, and we would then have to tighten them again a few weeks, if we don’t keep getting good rain.”