Armidale alternative water supply may be hard to figure out

WATER WISE: Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law considers our best way through the big dry is to conserve water.
WATER WISE: Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law considers our best way through the big dry is to conserve water.

With the level of Malpas Dam now below 48 per cent and Day Zero for the city's water supply sitting somewhere near the end of October 2020, Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law said her team was hard at work trying to find an alternative supply for the region.

"Our water people have been doing fairly extensive studies and modelling into what other sources we have and [what we] have stored," she said.

"First of all, we don't have a licence for Dumaresq Dam for domestic consumption at the moment, but the bigger issue is that it is currently being used by ourselves and RMS for road construction.

"But even if we stopped that, we've had extensive discussions with the Rural Fire Service, and they want to have access to a water supply in the bank for when the fire season comes."


Mrs Law said it just wasn't contemplatable that the RFS be left without water during any fire period.

"We've looked at Puddledock. As we've always said Puddledock Dam is our reserve supply," she said.

"It is literally a puddle.

"We have [already] accounted for the supply from Puddledock which will be approximately one month, and doesn't change our day zero because it's already been accounted for."

Residents had no way of knowing that Armidale is already on council's "Plan B". Plan A was having Malpas Dam filled with runoff water from drought breaking rain.

Council's "Plan C" was carting water in from somewhere outside the city, and "Plan D" involved the treatment of greywater and effluent through the use of reverse osmosis plants.

Mrs Law said council staff and consultants were leaving no stone unturned, nor ruling out any plan in order for council to extend its water supply.

"We have taken some preliminary action with our colleagues in Uralla and Inverell, but they are in no position to be able to supply us with water," she said.

"Getting water from Copeton Dam to Armidale by tanker is problematic. Because of the population of Armidale trucking is just unfeasible.

"What we do have control of is our use of water. I would urge people to take it seriously and reduce the amount of water they use. We need to save a minimum of six buckets of water each per day - more if we can."

This story Water supply alternatives perhaps not so easy to find first appeared on The Armidale Express.