Ellenborough's Sophie Love says Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has 'compromised' our waterways' health

Not quite a river: Sophie Love says the Ellenborough River is less of a river and more like a creek. The yellow line shows where the river height normally is.
Not quite a river: Sophie Love says the Ellenborough River is less of a river and more like a creek. The yellow line shows where the river height normally is.

An Ellenborough resident says she fears for the future of our water supply adding that the health of the Hastings River and its tributaries are being 'compromised'.

Sophie Love said she holds grave fears for the planet her son will inherit if we don't take the climate crisis and current drought seriously.

"Our neighbours are aged over 80 years and have lived in this area all their lives and say they have never seen it so dry or the rivers so low," she said.

"We all pump from the river for our stock and household use, but big irrigators and council take gigalitres of water that simply isn't there in the current drought. Water health is compromised," she said.

"We are seeing ever-dwindling Platypus populations and some signs of salinity over the past few years."

Ms Love says council refuses to listen or to act with foresight, not only to protect water supplies but to help breach the city/rural divide by enforcing water restrictions and ensuring residents limit their water use and reduce wastage.

Ms Love says she has repeatedly engaged with council to request water restrictions over the past 12 months.

And the prospects of good rainfall look bleak with the long range outlook is for no rain until January 2020.

"It is a crisis," she says.

The river runs dry: Ellenborough resident Sophie Love says the water health of our local waterways is being compromised.

The river runs dry: Ellenborough resident Sophie Love says the water health of our local waterways is being compromised.

As at June 18, the Port Macquarie Dam was at 97 percent while Cowarra Dam was at 50 percent. That is a combined storage level of 59.4 percent.

Due to the low river levels, council says it has not extracted water from the Hastings River since December 9, 2018.

"We are now relying on stored water at Port Macquarie and Cowarra Dams," a council spokesperson said.

Level 1 water restrictions were introduced on Monday April 15, 2019.

Despite the current combined storage level of 59.4 percent being under the 60 percent trigger for the introduction of Level 2 water restrictions, council said it is playing 'a waiting game'.

This is a waiting game.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

"We are looking ahead to long-term forecasts for rain events on the catchments around Mt Seaview," the council spokesperson said.

"This is a waiting game.

"We won't be going to Level 2 water restrictions at this stage because residents are doing a great job of saving and conserving water.

"They are being proactive," the spokesperson said.

"Council will continue to monitor the situation."

The spokesperson said council follows government regulations to responsibly manage local waterways.

"We comply with those regulations," the spokesperson said.

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