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Dry April offers no reprieve to Canberra’s falling dam levels

After the storm: Kangaroos on Red Hill. Photo: Graeme Taylor Early morning sun catches the balloons on a cool morning in John Skene’s entry to the Canberra Times autumn photo competition. Photo: John Skene
Nanjing Night Net

 Storage levels of the ACT’s four dams has fallen since August, and now sits at about three-quarters full, compared to about 80 per cent last year.

Icon Water’s manager of customer and community affairs, Lisa Quinn, acknowledged the declining levels but said overall storage was still quite high.

“Currently our dams are storing more water than we could have held at capacity prior to the construction of the enlarged Cotter Dam,” she said.

“The first quarter of 2016 has been very dry, so runoff in our catchments into our dams is lower. However, due to the increased water security and increased storage capacity from projects like the enlarged Cotter Dam, we are not concerned about the current storage levels.”

Corin Dam is only at 25.99 per cent capacity with 18.4 gigalitres. Bendora Dam is hosting about 8.42 gigalitres, 73.56 per cent of its storage capacity.

Things are looking better at Cotter Dam, with 61.74 gigalitres and 81.03 per cent capacity. The city’s largest source of water, Googong Dam is sitting at about 98.72 capacity, with 117.88 gigalitres.

But Canberra has received only five millimetres of rain this April, just a fraction of its monthly average of 47.8 millimetres.

This is the third consecutive month of below average rainfall.

Despite an extremely wet January, both February and March recorded about half of their usual rainfall.

Canberrans have used between 123.2 megalitres and 159.98 megalitres a day this month.

Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said Canberrans can expect little reprieve despite the rain clouds predicted to gather this weekend.

While there’s a chance of showers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, only five millimetres is predicted to fall at its wettest.

“The start of this week is picture perfect for those who like the sunshine with beautiful blue skies Monday through to Wednesday but from late Friday showers are a chance through to Sunday morning,” he said.

“Across that period we’re looking at around five millimetres but we could be lucky to get a little bit more than that.”

This is due to the lingering El Nino and the lessened moisture feeding across the country from the north, he said.

“We’ve had much weaker frontal activity coming across the south of the country than we typically would over the last few months, that’s meant we’ve seen much less rainfall from fronts than we typically would as well.”

But Mr Sharpe said there’s a “reasonably good” chance we’ll see above average rainfall in the ACT in the winter months.

“We’re likely to see a negative phase in the Indian Ocean Dipole. That means we’re likely to see a fair bit of moisture coming across the country from the north-west,” he said.

The total dam storage of the ACT including Corin Dam, Bendora Dam, Cotter Dam on the Cotter River and Googong Dam on Queanbeyan River is 278 gigalitres.

Canberrans used 47.89 gigalitres last year.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

The Canberra Times photo competition closes on May 31. Photographers are invited to submit their best autumn photos for the chance to win $1000 of prizes and have their work published.

To enter, send up to three photos to [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 as attached JPEG files with your name, address, phone number, photo title, a description of the photo and the date it was taken.

Photos must be at least 150 kilobytes and should not carry a watermark. See other entries in the competition here.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.