HORROR SIGHT: Tenterfield Dam is at 26 per cent capacity.
HORROR SIGHT: Tenterfield Dam is at 26 per cent capacity. ABC News

WATER CRISIS: Dam down to 26 per cent

AMID one of the worst droughts the town had ever seen, Tenterfield Shire Council has announced it will explore alternative water sources including recycled water, urban stormwater runoff and piping from alternate dams.

At last week's extraordinary meeting, Tenterfield Shire Council voted unanimously to support further investigations into alternate water solutions following plans to update council's drought management plan.

Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said while attempting to secure the town's water supplies, he and council CEO Terry Dodds had been "working very closely” with the state government to secure grant funding to cover the cost of water drilling to supplement supply to the Tenterfield Dam, which is currently only sitting at 26 per cent capacity.

"Initially an amount of $373,000 was allocated, however an additional $4 million was received for the Emergency Water Augmentation Project,” Cr Petty said.

"Over 10 bore holes have been drilled around town, with the bore at the Archery Club supplying 3.1 litres per second and another behind the Tenterfield Transport Museum proving hopeful.”

Cr Petty said a "draw down” test on the Transport Museum bore has commenced with results set to be known by today.

He said although council has had the services of some of the best hydrologists and exploration geologists in Australia at its disposal, it has been "extremely disappointing and concerning” to find sites which showed promise have been dry or supplied a very limited amount of water.

He said after today, the decision will need to be made to celebrate or to look at other options including drilling deeper bores at the Transport Museum.

Cr Petty said through lobbying by himself and Mr Dodds, on October 13 a further $24 million was announced to facilitate a business study into the Border Rivers Project on the Mole River.

"If successful, this proposed 100 gigalitre minimum dam could provide water for Tenterfield, Stanthorpe and a range of horticulture and agricultural ventures,” he said.

"The economic development potential for large dams has proven a bonanza in other areas.”

At a recent community meeting last week, Cr Petty stressed council's commitment to the future of Tenterfield through ensuring a sustainable water supply.

"We are not going to shift away from this,” Cr Petty said.

"The people of the Tenterfield Shire deserve a good outcome and we will deliver it.

"This council has worked long and hard to make the decisions necessary to move forward during all that Mother Nature has thrown at us.”

Cr Petty said council will look at all the options available to them.

"It will rain again, and when it does we will not abandon the planning and work that has been done as we owe it to future generations to ensure they have clean water to drink and have sustainable industry to support the Shire,” Cr Petty said.