Level 1 water restrictions for Korumburra and Fish Creek

LEVEL one water restrictions are being introduced in Korumburra from Thursday, January 14 this week.
The same restrictions will be introduced at Fish Creek.
It means that you can only use a bucket or high pressure cleaner to wash your car and home gardens may only be watered on alternate days (see advert this week).
However, without further rain, an escalation to Level 2, 3 or 4 water restrictions is not far away.
In fact, according to South Gippsland Water, these latest restrictions will only result in a five per cent reduction in overall usage at Korumburra because most of the town’s water is used by Burra Foods.
South Gippsland Water made the announcement that restrictions will apply after town water levels dropped below its planned trigger points.
“After a moderately dry winter, this year’s spring rainfall for the region is now confirmed as the lowest on record since the late 1930s. This has lessened reservoir inflows even when rain has fallen,” said a spokesperson for South Gippsland Water.
“Reservoir levels are currently at 67 per cent for the Battery Creek (Fish Creek) system and 65 per cent for the Coalition Creek System (Korumburra) as at January 8.”
The total capacity of the Korumburra system is 575ML, of which only 376ML remains. With the average daily usage at Korumburra being 2ML (peak demand 2.5ML) daily it means the town could have as little as 150 days of water left.
However, supplementary inflow from the Tarwin and more severe restrictions would extend supply until July, if the drought doesn’t break.
South Gippland Water also advised that it had commenced pumping a supplementary water supply from the Tarwin River for the Korumburra system at the beginning of December 2015.
“Up until Friday, January 8, 2016 some 50ML has been pumped to assist in meeting demand for Korumburra but extreme dry conditions, together with a resultant increased demand, have seen reservoirs drop irrespective of the supplementary water.”
South Gippsland Water advises that Stage 1 Water Restrictions are “an alert for customers to think about their water usage”.
“Warm and dry weather leads to pressure on the water supply system, with many homes using more water for showers and watering gardens and lawns, at the same time the sunshine evaporates water from the reservoirs.”
South Gippsland Water’s Managing Director, Philippe du Plessis, said this week that the activation of Stage 1 Alert Water Restrictions is a step taken in order to alert the community that water storages are starting to get low.
“This means that customers connected to the reticulated water supply system within and surrounding Korumburra and Fish Creek need to start activating more water efficient practises,” he said.
Mr du Plessis noted: “The key difference in Stage 1 Water Restrictions compared to Permanent Water Saving Rules is the introduction of Alternate Days for watering gardens. This means odd numbered houses can water on odd dates of the month and even numbered houses can water on even numbered dates.
“Both odd and even numbered houses can water on the 31st of the month,” he said.
Mr du Plessis also said: “If warm, dry conditions continued, this could lead to higher level water restrictions in the near future.”
A ‘Water Security Outlook’ graph prepared by South Gippsland Water indicates Level 4 restrictions could be in place by as early as mid-April this year without significant inflow.
By that stage, Korumburra’s supplies could be down to as low as 100ML.
Beyond Level 4 restrictions, which include bans on the watering of gardens and sporting ovals, emergency provisions can also be introduce.

Community fears

Mayor of South Gippsland Shire, and long-term Korumburra resident, Cr Bob Newton, said the community was aware the restrictions were coming but the announcement this week will certainly raise the level of anxiety.
He said it was further confirmation that something needed to be done about Korumburra’s inadequate water supply, immediately.
“At the December meeting of Council we made the Northern Towns Connection Project a priority for advocacy to other levels of government.
“And we’re moving on that.
“But I’d like to see South Gippsland Water commit to some improvement works straight away.
“Farmers don’t just sit there and do nothing when their dams dry out. They hop in there and clean them out.
“That’s what they should be doing up at the Bellview Reservoir when it gets low, clean it out and fix the reservoir wall that has been leaking for years.
“They’ve been pumping from the Tarwin, so we’ll be fine in the short term but if Korumburra is going to attract industry, and we’ve seen that we can, it’s got to have a proper water supply and it’s obvious we haven’t got that at the moment.”
At the recent council meeting, the shire stated that it had “an important role in advocating for critical infrastructure on behalf of the community and has had considerable success with similar projects in the past”.
It stated that “major economic and social benefits for the town and wider community” would flow from connection to the Lance Creek system and it plans to support South Gippsland Water in its efforts to get an allocation from the 2016-17 Victorian State Government Budget.

Reservoirs dropping

STAGE one water restrictions have been enforced for Fish Creek and Korumburra as water levels across South Gippsland Water’s reservoirs drop.
“With little or no rain fall across the region, storages are continuing to drop and Stage 1 Restrictions have been imposed on the Coalition Creek and Battery Creek Systems which provide water to Fish Creek and Korumburra respectively, ” Philippe du Plessis, Managing Director, South Gippsland Water said.
Mr Du Plessis said dry conditions have been experienced across the region during late 2015 and continuing in to 2016 and as such, South Gippsland Water is encouraging customers to implement water saving behaviours and to contact the corporation with questions or concerns regarding their water supply.
Little rainfall was recorded at South Gippsland Water’s storages from December 31 to January 8: Lance Creek 0mm, Ruby Creek 2mm, Coalition Creek 1mm, Deep Creek 0mm, Little Bass 3mm, Battery Creek 4mm.
Capacity at local reservoirs was: Lance Creek (Wonthaggi/Inverloch) 77 per cent; Ruby Creek (Leongatha) 68 per cent; Coalition Creek (Korumburra) 65 per cent; Foster Dam 90 per cent; Little Bass (Poowong, Nyora and Loch) 69 per cent; Battery Creek (Fish Creek) 67 per cent.