Public access to the Burrendong Dam wall has been closed until April due to emergency drought works.
Water NSW has announced on its website that water needs to be pumped from its remaining deep storage to meet "critical human needs, as well as domestic and stock demands.
The dam, which has the potential to hold three times as much water as Sydney Harbour, is now at a low of 1.5 per cent maximum capacity.
Last week's Regional Water Availability Report warned that 'if inflows do not occur at all this year and no drought measures are implemented, then all storage water will be depleted before the end of June 2020 and the whole river would then stop flowing'.
Extreme weather conditions have been filling many metropolitan and regional dams this week but Burrendong has only received 10mm of rainfall in the last seven days.
VIDEO: UTS Journalism student Henry McGilchrist took these shots of the dam wall and spillway on February 6, just days before it was closed to public access.
Water NSW notes that daily dam levels are based on automated data, which needs to be verified.
NSW Minister for Water, Melinda Pavey, ordered a suspension of environmental water flows from Burrendong Dam in July 2019, to extend supply to towns and critical industries.
This includes water released from a dam or a weir to maintain downstream river health.
A plan to transfer water from Windermere Dam to Burrendong in late February has been delayed by the recent storms and isolated stream flows.
The transfer is expected to leave a minimum of 70GL in Windamere Dam, which Water NSW suggests will, "provide a very secure supply for local demand for the next five to seven years".
Burrendong dam is currently sitting just over 51GL capacity.
- Madeleine Achenza is a journalism student at UTS
1/4: It’s a wrap!— UTS Journalism (@CentralNewsUTS) February 9, 2020
After thousands of kilometres, hundreds of interviews & more than a dozen towns, #UTSJournalism students are all back home & ready to start writing & editing the #climatestories they’ve gathered from across NSW. [more...] pic.twitter.com/3TKKUskfM7
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