The Coffs Coast Advocate

Dam it, we had to turn off the tap

RESIDENTS could be excused for thinking that the deluge over the Clarence Valley this week would result in the new Shannon Creek Dam filling rapidly.

Not so.

In fact, only a small amount of the rain this week has found its way into the multi-million dollar storage facility.

North Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston said the dam was filled with water from the Nymboida River in periods of peak flow, but despite the river flowing at more than 50,000 megalitres a day, no extraction was being made from the Nymboida.

North Coast Water avoids extracting water from the Nymboida when turbidity levels are high to avoid excessive amounts of mud entering the dam.

Because of the intensity of rain in the past week, turbidity levels have been high, so no extractions have been made.

Mr Preston said North Coast Water was also only keeping a small amount of the current rain falling in the Shannon Creek catchment.

He said that under the environmental conditions applied to the dam, North Coast Water is required to release any water flowing into the dam into Shannon Creek once the dam is full.

“During the current filling operation we can retain some of this flow, especially in high rain events like we have experienced lately,” he said.

Mr Preston said it was estimated the dam would be full by the end of next year.

At the moment it's about 16 per cent full.

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