Bega Valley Shire Council’s Water Services team are taking steps to improve water quality in the shire’s south following an increase in wet weather this year.
High rainfall across the Yellow Pinch and Eden water catchments has seen clay sediment washing into dams and making its way to homes in the Eden, Merimbula, Tura Beach, Pambula, Wolumla and Candelo areas.
Council’s Water and Sewerage Services Manager, Chris Best said while a permanent solution lies with improved treatment and filtration infrastructure, interim steps are being made to improve the situation.
“We are changing the source of water supplies in these areas, starting with Eden, Pambula, Pambula Beach and South Pambula being switched over today.
“These areas will mostly receive water from our Towamba River pumping station, transferred via the Eden trunk main.
“It’s important to note that water supplied from a new source will still receive disinfection, regardless of where it comes from. The water from any new source is still safe to drink.
“Water obtained from the Yellow Pinch dam is also safe to drink even though it is often discoloured with fine clay sediment.”
“Sediment levels fluctuate with different weather conditions, and while rerouting water sources will have a positive effect on local water quality, discoloured water can return if heavy rain falls across our catchments.”
Mr Best said the only permanent solution is to build a new water treatment and filtration plant at the Yellow Pinch dam.
“This is coming, with funding from the NSW Government’s Safe and Secure Water Program contributing to treatment and filtration plants in Brogo, Bega and Yellow Pinch. Brogo is nearing completion, Bega is in the early stages of construction and the Yellow Pinch plant is scheduled to go live in 2027,” Mr Best said.
“In the meantime, we are using the network to supply water from sources minimally impacted by sediment levels. These changes mean we can chase the best water supply as different sources come on and off-line.
“Merimbula Airport and Fishpen will soon join the Eden and Pambula area in being connected to the Towamba River, and new works are underway to reroute the Merimbula, Tura Beach, Candelo and Wolumla supply from Tantawangalo Creek and the Bega River in the next few weeks.
“As an interim measure, to improve water quality in these areas we are controlling the Yellow Pinch aerator to allow faster settling of suspended sediment.”
Changes to water supply sourcing will remain until conditions at Yellow Pinch dam improve or until completion of a new water treatment and filtration plant.
Source: Bega Valley Shire Council