SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT: Is the Eden Bann really empty?
Water administrator Sunwater has rejected claims by Rockhampton businessman Dominic Doblo that the Eden Bann Weir is empty.
Photos posted to Facebook (P9) appear to show the dwindling water supply behind the weir wall despite administrator Sunwater’s figures showing the storage as being at 36 per cent and rising.
Mr Doblo would not say exactly when the photos were taken but that they were taken around January 22 – the time he posted them to social media.
Sunwater stands by the figures and a spokesman said staff had been at the site in recent days and that their levels were indeed correct.
Sunwater shared a photo from above the weir wall which appears to show the river upstream which was out of frame in the photo posted my Mr Doblo.
The photo was taken in November before recent rain.
Behind the narrow passage towards the Weir wall, the river widens and fills almost the entire width between tree lines.
However, both photos are a far cry from photos taken by Mr Doblo in 2015 when the weir was at 100 per cent.
The Sunwater spokesman said even though it appeared empty at the narrow passage by the weir, much of the water storage was upstream as the November photo demonstrated.
He said Sunwater protocol did not allow any further release of water below the 30 per cent mark.
The spokesman also assured that reserves upstream were at healthy levels.
The Bedford, Bingelgang and Tartrus weirs that feed the Fitzroy into the Eden Bann Weir are all currently between 68 and 102 per cent capacity.
The administrator also expects recent rains to further bump river levels in the system.
“Sunwater expects further inflows to Eden Bann Weir in coming days due to rainfall in the catchment,” a spokesman said.
The water held by Eden Bann is owned by Stanwell Power Station and is let out to the Fitzroy barrage for access upon request.
Water has been released recently for Stanwell and grazier Gerard Milrea, whose property borders the weir, did notice a significant drop.
He said he was not consulted when releases occurred.
Rockhampton Regional Council administers the last port of water storage along the river but said the current levels raised no cause for concern.
“We are watching the water levels at the barrage although it hasn’t yet hit the point at which we would begin to limit water use,” mayor Margeret Strelow said.
Mr Doblo believes there is insignificant water storage infrastructure in the Fitzroy system. He said if drought such as what is currently being experienced continued, and nothing is done to address water storage, there will be a “day of reckoning” as the region spirals into a water crisis.