THE first decent rainfall for a long time was welcomed around the district in recent days, with hopes expressed that there would be plenty more.
South Gippsland Water storages got a good sprinkling, but much more will be needed before there is good run-off and the water restrictions in place for residents of Fish Creek and Korumburra can be lifted.
“Storages are being closely monitored, and even with last week’s milder weather conditions and a small amount of rain across the region, water levels continue to drop,” said SGW managing director Philippe du Plessis.
In sharp contrast to recent weather patterns, rainfall totals generally increased the further south you went, with Yanakie doing particularly well.
Mike Heal of Yanakie General Store said that locals were coming in with reports of between 25 and 30mm falling at Yanakie last Wednesday. A further 8 to 10mm fell on Friday and/or Saturday.
Henny Hather recorded 16.5mm of rain at her Yanakie property last Wednesday. It was more than she had seen in a long time, but she expects to be saving her tank water by taking her washing into the laundromat at Foster – as she has done since September – for some time yet.
Certainly, water carriers are expected to continue to be a regular sight on the Promontory Road between Yanakie and the standing pipe at Foster. They have been doing a roaring trade all over the district.
Yanakie Progress Association president Alex Moon, who is part of a project pumping water from a spring-fed swampy part of Yanakie for local farmers to access, said the rain is pleasing but much more is needed. “The rain has kept the spring at the dam running. It had started to slow down. Now that the flow has increased we can pump the maximum amount of water to build up a buffer.”
Mr Moon said that farmers drying off their cows had eased some of the pressure on local water supplies, but most farmers were only just managing to maintain their supplies and there was next to no run-off. “Yanakie still needs lots and lots of rain,” he said.
Foster Post Office recorded a rainfall total of 16.4mm over the last week. The rain was warmly welcomed by the gardeners at Foster’s Manna Community Garden.
“It was the first significant rain for a very long time,” said gardener Juneen Schulz. “It has made a difference to the look of the garden and to the health of the plants.”
She remarked how much the rain – combined with a healthy burst of sunshine – has boosted the garden’s productivity. “The cucumbers and zucchinis are really throwing their fruit out, the tomatoes are looking great, the sunflowers are bursting into flower, the self-seeding tomatillos (Mexican tomatoes ideal for making salsa) are thriving, and the plum, nectarine and peach trees are loaded!”
The community garden is located in Court Street behind Foster Community House. Members meet there between 10am and 12 noon each Monday. Anyone who wants to share in the bountiful harvest is welcome to join the group and establish a plot for a small fee. Call into the community shop to find out more.
“It’s a big saving on water to grow your own veggies,” Ms Schulz said. “And you don’t need much land at all to be self-sufficient in fruit and veggies.”
She added that her own garden at Walkerville had had as much as 23mm of rain last Wednesday and a further 8mm on Friday.
Most of South Gippsland Water’s storages recorded around 9mm of rainfall between January 15 and January 22. In detail the figures are as follows (with reservoir levels as a percentage of capacity in brackets):
- Deep Creek (Foster area) 9mm (88%);
- Battery Creek (Fish Creek) 9.5mm (62%);
- Ruby Creek (Leongatha and surrounds) 6.8mm (61%);
- Lance Creek (Wonthaggi, Inverloch, Cape Paterson) 9mm (73%);
- Coalition Creek (Korumburra and surrounds) 9.6mm (62%);
- Little Bass (Poowong, Nyora and Loch) 6.2mm (64%).
Stage 1 Restrictions are in place on the Coalition Creek and Battery Creek, while everyone else should follow Permanent Water Saving Rules.
South Gippsland Water suggests that there are many simple day-to-day measures which can be put in place to save water around the home. These include:
- Use a half flush when flushing the toilet;
- Fix any leaking or dripping taps;
- Ensure hoses are fitted with a trigger nozzle and free of leaks;
- Only run washing machine and dish washers when there is a full load to be washed;
- Limit shower time to four minutes;
- Plant water wise garden plants and using mulch to hold moisture in garden beds;
- Install a pool cover;
- Install a water saving shower head. Customers can have one delivered for free by registering with South Gippsland Water Customer Service on 1300 851 636.
Information regarding Permanent Water Saving Rules and Stage 1 “ALERT” Water Restrictions can be found at www.sgwater.com.au or contact South Gippsland Water with questions or concerns regarding smarter water usage.