Falling dam levels across Macarthur spark concern

“Water restrictions should have been brought in 12 months ago – we need the state government to take action now.”

That’s the belief of Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth.

Cr Deeth has called for urgent action to be taken to preserve Macarthur’s water supply as the government prepares to switch on Sydney’s desalination plant.

Cr Deeth said the falling water levels at Warragamba, Cataract and Cordeaux dams should be of grave concern to residents and local politicians.

“Wollondilly effectively supplies 90 per cent of Sydney’s water even though we only use a small amount of that ourselves,” he said.

“Cataract is now only at 27 per cent and our back-up supply, which is Tallowa Dam, is only at 19 per cent.

“So we don’t have a viable back-up supply.”

A spokesman for Don Harwin, the urban water minister, told the Sydney Morning Herald households would pay as much as $35 a year extra to cover the desalination plant's operations.

However the plant does not supply water to Macarthur, meaning locals will be forking out extra money to supply other regions with water.

“The desalination plant should only be used as a last resort,” Cr Deeth said.

“Slugging residents with an extra $35 for water they cannot access is unfair

“What we really need is the state government to come to the table and bring in stage one water restrictions.

“We know it takes time for habits to kick in and we shouldn’t be waiting until we are at critical levels to preserve this precious natural resource.

“As a community, the only thing we can do is try to be more water wise.”

The desalination plant uses technology to turn seawater into fresh water, which can then be used as drinking water.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said he first raised the issue of the dramatic decline in local dam levels in early 2017.

Mr Warren has been particularly concerned with the diminishing level of Cataract Dam.

“I warned the relevant ministers that the situation was desperately urgent yet it took almost a year for them to finally act,” he said.

“Meanwhile the water level in Cataract Dam has dropped faster than the Prime Minister’s approval rating.

“If the crisis wasn’t concerning enough, residents can now expect to pay almost $40 more a year while the desalination plant remains in operation.

“This is yet another example of the dire impact this state government’s sell-off happy mantra is having on Sydney residents.

“This is a damning assessment of a government who is clearly way out of its depth when it comes to running the great state of NSW.”

Residents are urged to follow Sydney Water’s Water Wise rules including avoiding watering lawns and gardens between 10am and 4pm, only cleaning cars, boats or buildings using a bucket, high-pressure cleaning equipment or a hose filled with a trigger nozzle.