It's been fantastic to see the region getting a bit of rain recently and it has done wonders for people's lawns as well as parks and gardens.
There really is nothing like a few gentle falls to make things look much better and lift people's spirits.
While the recent rain has been patchy and unpredictable, Wellington and Geurie in particular got larger amounts and you can tell as you drive into both via the rapidly thickening green grass. Unfortunately it has also brought some problems for these areas.
Council has had to issue 'boiled water alerts' to people who draw from either of these supplies because the water in the Macquarie River has been muddied by the run-off from the rain. This is an unfortunate result of heavy rain on land that didn't have any ground cover to stop it from running and picking up dirt on the way.
Council is doing everything it can to correct this issue and staff at the treatment facilities at both locations are working overtime to handle this unprecedented situation. Dubbo missed the heaviest of the rain that caused the problems so the water hasn't been as badly affected by the time it reaches our facility, which is why it has been able to cope so far. This recent rain has been fantastic and welcome but unfortunately it hasn't made a big impact on Burrendong Dam.
The dam's catchment area is around the Bathurst and Orange regions and unfortunately they also missed out on the heavy rain that was received on the east coast. As of Monday the dam was still at 1.5 per cent and the inflows were unlikely to raise it much higher. This means that water restrictions will not be eased and unfortunately, there is still a high risk the dam will be empty and the Macquarie River will run dry later this year. Council continues to work on ways to overcome this including exploration for suitable bore locations at Wellington and the construction of the Dubbo cross-city pipeline. We are also working with Water NSW, who are responsible for the supply of water from Burrendong Dam and the Macquarie River, and they are keeping us up-to-date on the situation.
Council has worked to make it easier for residents to reduce their water usage. At the January Extraordinary Meeting of Council I tabled a Mayoral Minute proposing further items be added to the Water Savings Rebate Scheme, which was subsequently endorsed.
People could already apply for a 50 per cent rebate when installing a 3-star or higher WELS water shower heads or an irrigation timer. From Monday, 10 February 2020, an extension of the scheme means council will make available rebates of up to $150 for dual flush toilets (maximum of two toilets per household), $150 for pool covers, and $250 for water tanks with a capacity of at least 2000 litres.
Eligible items purchased since 1 November 2019 are also eligible for a rebate. Receipts are required for all rebate applications. Visit dubbo.nsw.gov.au.