Victor Szwed

Central Highlands Water (CHW) has released its Annual Water Outlook for 2023-2024. With water storages across the Central Highlands region being at healthy levels, additional water restrictions are unlikely.

The current El Nino declaration and drier conditions over the much of winter and spring have not had much impact yet on water storages, largely due to the earlier good rainfall and continuing stream flows. CHW advises that Daylesford’s rainfall for the 12 months from October 2022 to September 2023 was 1,037mm, 22% higher than the average since 1975. Much of that fell in the first 9 months of that period.

The five-month period of July to the end of November this year has only seen 60% of the average rainfall. Despite some thunderstorms and rain in the first half of December, the falls have been very much “hit and miss”. Some local areas have received decent falls and some low falls. The year-to-date total rainfall is running below average.

According to Central Highlands Water, the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs water supply caters for 6,400 people and our water storages have been full for some time. However, that supply system only equates to approximately one year’s supply and the new CHW pipeline currently being constructed from the Goldfields Super Pipe is intended to improve the supply reliability, particularly if there is an extended drought.

We have been fortunate that even during drier years, we still get some good rain events which top-up our supply. However, if we experience two or more drought years in a row we could be faced with significant water restrictions as occurred a few years ago. It is important that we use water carefully and do not waste it. Carry out watering when it is cooler, mulch garden beds and direct water where it is needed rather than spreading it.

Our water storages are: Wombat, Hepburn and Bullarto Reservoirs supplemented by a bore in Coomoora. Water is pumped to the CHW treatment plant in East Street and then to two holding basins which are located on Wombat Hill. These elevated basins provide a boost to water pressure so that water supply can flow easily downhill to your home or business.

Permanent Water Saving Rules continue to apply and all of us should ensure that we are familiar with these. See the CHW site for the full details

The restrictions include: using a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle that does not leak for watering gardens. Washing cars can be done with a bucket or a hand held hose. Watering systems can only be used between 6pm to 10am. Please check the CHW details to ensure that you are complying.

Victor Szwed is a Daylesford resident who writes regular weather updates for The Wombat Post. This article is based in part on a media release from Central Highlands Water.