Water releases from Keepit Dam will cease within days as its level falls towards the point of “dead storage”, WaterNSW has said.
The level has fallen almost another 30 per cent in the past week, and is near the point where it will no longer be able to drain out through gravity.
WaterNSW told a meeting of stakeholders in Manilla this week that, after a block release to customers that began in October, there would be “no releases from Keepit storage … until we get significant rainfall”.
However, enough will be retained in the dam for “critical needs” into 2020: Manilla and Barraba town water, and stock and domestic demands.
Recreational users are also continuing to make the best of the conditions, Lake Keepit Family Fishing Club president Anne Michie said.
Ms Michie said the dam was the lowest she’d seen it, but the club and others were still finding ways to enjoy the natural asset.
“People have been catching a lot of silver perch out there … which has been an interesting thing we’ve seen this year as the levels have dropped,” she said.
“There has also been some nice cod caught throughout the year.”
This weekend, the club will hold its Christmas party and its Medal of Medals competition – “a big fish-off for bragging rights, the ‘medal of medals’ and $200 from Petrie’s Mitre 10 in Gunendah”, Ms Michie said.
“With [the dam] dropping so much, it will be interesting to see how it affects the fishing this weekend.”
Ms Michie said the receding water had presented some challenges: “Some of the water skiing fraternity are probably slightly shocked … to see what they’ve been skiing over all year.”
“People are taking it easier and being a bit more cautious because obviously there are a lot more obstacles sticking up with dead trees, sand banks or islands.”
But there were also some interesting finds.
“There’s a lot of beach-combing; people are finding lost treasures,” she said.
“A young guy went down for a fish and came back with a set of car keys … all sorts of wonderful things are showing up out there: lures, fishing rods, sunnies.”
The NVI also attempted to contact Lake Keepit Sailing Club.