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Water limits mooted

Philippe du Plessis: the South Gippsland Water managing director said water restrictions would soon be in place if the dry weather continued.

LEONGATHA will be placed on stage one water restrictions by the end of this month, or early May, if the dry weather continues.

“We plot all the levels and we look at all the demands and forecast on the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario we know about is that 2006-7 period,” South Gippsland Water managing director Philippe du Plessis told The Star.

“The restrictions aren’t decided a week from implementation. We’re well in advance of where you think you might be, based on worst case scenarios.

“People might ask, where’s the water gone? Well, it’s not the biggest supply in the world. We’ve been thinking about the supply issue for some time, which is why we’ve got the towns’ connection project. It’s either do that or expand the reservoirs through fairly major capital works.”

Mr du Plessis put it simply: “If it doesn’t rain, the reservoirs ain’t going to fill.”

Rather than building bigger reservoirs, SGW’s preferred option is to interconnect Korumburra, Poowong, Loch and Nyora to the corporation’s largest reservoir, Lance Creek.  SGW also has plans to tap into the Melbourne water supply, part of a broader 50 year strategy.

“We need to factor in climate variability. If that impacts on South Gippsland, how does that impact on our yield? The yield is the main factor. If we were overflowing four months of the year, it would make sense to build bigger reservoirs. But the yields analysis shows that that’s not the case,” he said.

“It might be that building extra storage costs tens of millions of dollars and so does the connection. But at the end of the day, if it doesn’t rain, which one works for the region?”

Mr du Plessis said storage amounts were reviewed weekly, and if stage one was imposed, supplementary supplies would be taken from the Tarwin River around that time. SGW has a bulk entitlement to take five million litres (five megalitres) per day from the Tarwin River, which could be split between Korumburra and Leongatha.

Leongatha is currently using 4-5ML per day.

But Mr du Plessis said this did not mean Leongatha residents were ‘water Wallies’.

“The understanding of how valuable water is, especially when it’s dry, has changed. We’re the second lowest water users in the state, per capita. The only people who use less are in Phillip Island, a lot of which is driven by seasonal demand,” he said.

Currently the Tarwin River flows are able to sustain both townships, Mr du PLessis said. The water authority also has use of water from four bores around Leongatha, with a water entitlement of up to 2.1ML per day.

SGW would like to see all customers be water efficient and conserve water supplies where possible.  The Corporation is still hopeful that the dry conditions may break prior to Stage 1 restrictions being necessary for Leongatha.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=6820

Posted by on Apr 3 2013. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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