NO DAMAGE TO DAM: An aerial image showing some of the damage from the Tenterfield fire. Tenterfield Dam is located in the top right corner.
NO DAMAGE TO DAM: An aerial image showing some of the damage from the Tenterfield fire. Tenterfield Dam is located in the top right corner. Rural Fire Service

Town's scarce water supply threatened by fast moving fire

WHEN a fast-moving grass fire tore through the southern side of Tenterfield on Friday afternoon, impacting Tenterfield dam, many residents were worried the dam's equipment may have been affected.

Tenterfield Shire mayor Peter Petty said while there were concerns surrounding the dam's equipment and the drinking water supply following the blaze, he said damage was minimal.

"We were extremely lucky. The dam equipment escaped damage,” he said.

"All we've lost is a broom.”

Cr Petty said while the fire had passed directly through the dam and its treatment facilities, the council staff were relieved to see the only damage was to a broom which had been leaning against the water filtration system.

"All joking aside, we have just put in a new bore on the eastern side of the dam, and luckily that came out of the fire undamaged too,” he said.

"We were very, very lucky. The fire was moving so fast I think that helped.”

Depleting dam levels have been a constant cause of concern for the council, with Tenterfield Shire Council predicting the town could could run out of water completely within the next 200 days without substantial rain.

The town's dam is now less than a third full and with the estimated January 4 "day zero” date inching closer, many residents fear the heat from the fire, as well as resulting use for fire fighting efforts, could have made water situation worse.

Cr Petty acknowledged while some of the dam's water had been used in the fire fighting efforts, the impact on the town's water supply would be "very, very small”.



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