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New South Wales community could run out of water in the coming weeks

  • New South Wales community could run out of water in the coming weeks
    Barrington River. Credit: Wikipedia

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The town of Gloucester’s water supply is dependent on the Barrington River, which has never ceased to flow since records began, but could run dry for the first time in the near future, reports The Guardian.

Residents and visitors are urged to comply with severe level 4 water restrictions since November 25, where no outside water use is permitted. Only recycled or greywater can be used to water gardens with buckets or watering cans.

The Midcoast Council has developed a plan in case no further rainfall occurs before the end of the year, to truck water to fill the town’s reservoirs, ensuring Gloucester would have emergency water provisions. In that case, level 5 water restrictions would kick in, which ration indoor water use. Adrian Panuccio, the MidCoast council general manager, said water could be obtained from an aquifer in the coastal town of Tea Gardens, and the NSW state government would pay for a large portion of the costs of transporting it.

Several rural communities in NSW are living with water restrictions as drought continues to impact this part of Australia, while the state is investing in emergency water infrastructure.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, while outlooks for drier than average conditions ease heading into 2020, several months of above average rainfall would be needed to see a recovery from current long-term rainfall deficiencies.

The record heat and drought have meant a very severe bushfire season that feeds into the next environmental concern: water quality risks from ash sediment in dam catchment areas, vulnerable to heavy rain until the vegetation can grow again and protect the soil surface from erosion. The Warragamba Dam, providing water to Sydney, is of concern in this regard, and WaterNSW has strengthen efforts to safeguard water quality.

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