A request by Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City councils to keep over two billion litres of water in Shannon Creek Dam has been turned down by the State Government – meaning Level One restrictions will stay in place. Greg Mashiah, Council’s Water Cycle Manager said that a one-time exemption to the NSW Government’s license agreement had been requested, however, a verbal response had now been received declining the request. “Under our transparent extraction licence we need to release all the water that flows down the Shannon Creek into the dam.” “This mimics the natural flow of the creek – the volume of water flowing into the dam must equal the volume flowing out.” “The water that came into the dam from Shannon Creek during the February flood has not yet been released.” “It was not released at the time due to the high turbidity that was effecting drinking water quality in the dam during and after the high rainfall event.” “We are currently waiting for written advice from the NSW Government with instructions on how they want the release to take place.” “In this case it was received in a high rainfall event; therefore the release should normally be the same.” “We are however hoping to release the water gradually but will follow the direction of the NSW Government.” “The seasonally dry weather at the moment means we are no longer able to source our water directly from the Nymboida River due to the reduced springtime flows in the river.” “Therefore we will need to remain on Level One restrictions until we receive some significant rainfall in the catchment and the river flows increase,” Mr Mashiah added. While the level of Shannon Creek Dam appears to be well above 80%, once the mandatory release required by the NSW Government has occurred the level will drop to around the 80% mark where restrictions are required. As a result, Level One water restrictions need to remain in place for the time being.