Our dam is flowing over the spillway
THE Clarrie Hall Dam, which holds Tweed's back-up town water supply, is the envy of towns and cities along the east coast. It is full and trickling over the spillway.
Continued run-off from last week's rain has topped up the dam nestled in the foothills of the Nightcap Range south-west of Murwillumbah.
With the Nightcap Ranges traditionally receiving the heaviest annual rainfall in New South Wales the dam levels have more often been high than low since it was built in 1982. Tweed Shire Council's water manager David Oxenham said "it is one of the rare dams where, at the opening ceremony, it was full".
"Not long after they finished building it rained and filled the dam."
The dam now holds its capacity of 16,000 megalitres, and though water is trickling over the spillway none is being taken out to provide Tweed's town water.
That is because the Tweed River further downstream at the Bray Park weir near Murwillumbah is flowing well, providing enough supplies from the weir to the Bray Park treatment plant, soon to undergo an extensive expansion. The dam was last full in January.
The council this week let a $65 million contract for expansion of the Bray Park plant, the biggest part of a $75 million, 10-year-plan to keep fresh water being pumped through the town-water network from Murwillumbah to Pottsville, the Tweed Coast and Tweed Heads. The expansion will allow the current capacity of the Bray Park station to be increased from 55 megalitres a day to 100 megalitres daily.
Administrators Max Boyd and Garry Payne were told the expansion in capacity would ensure "a safe and reliable water supply to service the shire's expanding population base".
The $65 million will be paid from the council's water fund as well as borrowings. A contract for the loan funding is still to be let.
But council finance staff said the ten year predicted cash flow for the water fund indicated the loan would be sustainable with the cash balance in the fund not falling below $1.29 million.
A report on the project prepared by the Hunter Water authority said the Bray Park plant was needed to cater for a population in the Tweed of 120,000 by the year 2020.