Dry conditions lead to 'intense drought' declaration by DPI

DROUGHT: Department of Primary Industries' NSW Combined Drought Indicator to 30 June 2018. Photo: DPI.
DROUGHT: Department of Primary Industries' NSW Combined Drought Indicator to 30 June 2018. Photo: DPI.

New data has revealed the Shoalhaven is experiencing an ‘intense drought’, the most serious category according to the The Department of Primary Industries (DPI). 

The DPI released it’s June seasonal update this week, which showed that 99 per cent of the state is experiencing drought, while 15 per cent is in the intense category.

Although good rainfall and pasture recovery has been reported on the coastal fringe, the Combined Drought Indicator established the majority of the Shoalhaven region is experiencing drought conditions. 

According to the DPI, an ‘intense drought’ is declared when ground cover is very low, soil moisture stores are exhausted and rainfall has been minimal over the past 6-12 months.

The official national climate outlook for July to September was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on June 28, with the chance of increased drier and warmer than average conditions predicted.

While water restrictions are not currently in place, Shoalhaven Water director Carmel Krogh said they would be implemented if the dry conditions persisted.  

“The Shoalhaven River flows have been decreasing and are currently at 150 ML per day,” she said. 

If we did not receive any further rain in the catchment we estimate that we would be implementing Level 1 water restrictions around mid-September.

Shoalhaven Water director Carmel Krogh

“We will stop pumping when they reduce to 90 ML per day day and will supply the Shoalhaven from the stored water in Bamarang dam.

“If we did not receive any further rain in the catchment we estimate that we would be implementing Level 1 water restrictions around mid-September.”

In the Shoalhaven, Level 1 water restrictions are brought into place when the region’s main water supply at Bamarang reduces to 60 per cent capacity, resulting in water having to be pumped from Danjerra Dam to top up supplies.

Level 1 criteria involves restrictions on garden and lawn watering, use of sprinklers, washing of vehicles, boats and caravans, topping up of swimming pools and use of water on hard or paved surfaces. 

Ms Krogh said the last time Level 1 restrictions were implemented in the Shoalhaven was about eight years ago. 

“Restrictions were last in place in 2009/10 [with] Level 1 in force from October 5 2009 to February 10 2010,” she said. 

Comments