With the Tenterfield Dam level now at 28 per cent, drilling continues in the hope of finding a sustainable water supply to supplement the Tenterfield Dam during this current drought and into the future.
With the Tenterfield Dam level now at 28 per cent, drilling continues in the hope of finding a sustainable water supply to supplement the Tenterfield Dam during this current drought and into the future.

Desperate situation: Dam at 28 per cent and dropping

WITH the Tenterfield Dam level now at 28 per cent, drilling is continuing in the hope of finding a sustainable water supply for the region.

The council is now drilling bore numbers six, seven and eight, on its list of potential bore sites, with the drilling rig now sinking test bores behind the Tenterfield Transport Museum near the Tenterfield Showground.

The Archery Club bore site can only contribute three litres of water per second to the council's goal of an absolute minimum overall volume of 9-10 litres per second.

Drilling at the other four sites, including near Tenterfield Station, all came up empty.

Drilling on bores six, seven and eight, reach down to depth of around 136 metres.

The council's chief executive, Terry Dodds, said that had created some "technical challenges".

"Compressed air is used to blow out the crushed rock. At 136m, if any larger sized stones become prevalent, there is a chance that the compressed air isn't strong enough to blow the larger stones out of the drill hole," he said.

"If these larger stones then end up between the drill bit and the bored hole, the rock pieces may cause the drill bit to become stuck."

After these test bores are finished, the rig will be moving to the unformed section of East Street and The Common off Steinbrook Road.

There are still other sites to the north of town but as the sites become more remote from Tenterfield Dam, they become more expensive to pipe, and the piping will take longer to install.

Mr Dodds said the situation was becoming more urgent, with evaporation rates set to rise as the days warm up.

"The dam is expected to drop 8.6mm a day during summer due to evaporation alone, more than twice the winter evaporation rate," he said.

On a positive note, Mayor Peter Petty said the Tenterfield community had embraced the need to conserve water.

"We are currently holding a consumption rate of 110 litres per person per day, well in excess of the target 170-240 litres per person per day for Level 4.5 water restrictions," he said.

"This shows that residents and businesses are supporting council in conserving water, with consumption dropping by about 70 litres per person per day since January 2019. For this I thank you all."