Goulburn’s last weeks of water


Possible $27/KL cost: Pejar Dam recently held less than 1 per cent of its capacity and the city has not received any decent rain since 120mm in January. Water services manager for Goulburn Mulwaree Council Greg Finlayson said if worst came to worst, the city would cart in water at a cost of $27 a kilolitre, 27 times what Canberrans pay.

Water trucking costs high: "That is a very expensive, last approach. I’m not confident but I very much hope it won’t get to that point. The risks involved in trucking water are significant. For starters, you’ll have a lot of water tankers driving up and down the Hume Highway."

Pejar Dam close to empty: The city is pumping 15 megalitres a day from Pejar Dam with any surplus pumped back into the Sooley Dam. "Pejar Dam is down to a very small pool of water and it will only be a matter of weeks before it gets to a level where we can’t draw from it at all," Finlayson said. "We are at a level we have never experienced before, since 1980 when the dam was built."

Plan B: Sooley Dam: The council has "other strings in its bow", including Sooley Dam, which is being topped up with water from three underground bores. Although the bores are not increasing the amount of water in the dam, which is at 91 per cent capacity, they are preventing it from dropping as a result of evaporation.

Wollondilly pump project underway: Construction is also nearly completed on works to pump water from the Wollondilly River, but the operating rules, set by the NSW Government, are yet to be determined. The water would also be treated.

Recycling options open: The council is about to begin a public consultation process on recycling sewage water so it can be integrated with the water supply during times of emergency.

The Canberra Times, 13/4/2006, p. 11

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