IT has taken 11 years but water is finally flowing over the spillway at Oberon Dam on Fish River as the storage reaches 100 per cent of capacity.
As at 8am on Thursday, the storage was sitting at 99.72 per cent of capacity, and reached full supply level later that afternoon.
The dam last spilled in 2001, and dropped to as low as 9.4 per cent of capacity in March 2010 as a result of the prolonged drought.
State Water storage custodian Martin Duffy said the captured water would bring economic and environmental benefits to the area.
“The high level of Oberon Dam means we have water secured for town water supplies, industry and recreation.
“It wasn’t long ago we had less than 10 per cent in the storage and as a community we were concerned about our water security for the future,” Mr Duffy said.
State Water is reminding downstream landholders to be aware that river heights could fluctuate during the spill, and to exercise caution in and around the river.
During the crisis emergency measures were put in place to help prevent the Fish River Supply from running dry, with obvious severe consequences for consumers who rely on the Oberon Dam as their only supply.
There was even the prospect of the Wallerawang power station and the timber processing plant at Oberon being forced to scale back operations.
Lithgow Council made a major contribution to conserving the system by investing in infrastructure enabling the water supply from the Farmers Creek system to be pumped to areas between Marrangaroo and Cullen Bullen.
The operation was a success after initial teething problems when the flow had to be reversed and did much to ensure the survival of what was at risk of becoming little more than a muddy pond.
Councillors believed the clearing of pine plantations in the catchment area also made a significant difference to inflows.
For more information regarding river heights, refer to the NSW Water Information website, http://waterinfo.