The Hunter’s recent heatwave has taken a toll on water storage levels

PRECIOUS DROP: Chichester Dam is currently sitting at around 97 per cent capacity with the region's total storage at the end of December sitting at 82.9 per cent.
PRECIOUS DROP: Chichester Dam is currently sitting at around 97 per cent capacity with the region's total storage at the end of December sitting at 82.9 per cent.

The Hunter’s recent heatwave has taken a toll on water storage levels with dam capacities tipped to drop further after this week’s forecast succession of more hot days.

A Hunter Water spokesperson said that while our storages are in a reasonable position, the amount of water we use can impact dam levels.

Hunter Water’s dams are currently at 81.4 percent total storage capacity.

“The hot weather we’re currently experiencing has seen demand for water increase over the past week,” the spokesperson said.

“On average, 234 million litres has been supplied to our customers in the Lower Hunter between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, which is higher than the average summer demand of 211 million litres per day.

“We can’t control the weather, but as a community we can control our water consumption,” the spokesperson said.

"If we all reduce the amount of water we use now, we will preserve our supplies and delay any need for restrictions, which commence at 60 percent total storage.

“Simple water wise behaviours at home like reducing time in the shower to four minutes, watering the garden before 10am and after 4pm to avoid the hottest part of the day, and using a trigger nozzle on the hose can all make a big difference.”

Water supply in the Lower Hunter is vulnerable to drought – our dams fill quickly but they empty quickly as well.

Our water levels drop faster than most other major Australian urban centres during hot, dry periods because we have shallow water storages and high evaporation rates.

The demand from Hunter Water customers also has a major influence on dam levels with each of us using an average of 191 litres a day – 10 per cent more than we could be. 

The region’s water supply is drawn from a combination of surface storages and groundwater resources at Grahamstown Dam, Chichester Dam, Tomago Sandbeds and Anna Bay Sandbeds.​