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Sydney residents asked to curb water use after heavy rainfall

The corner of Niblick Street and Warners Ave at North Bondi. Click for more photos

Sydney wild weather: heavy rain causes flash flooding

Heavy rain in Sydney on Monday caused flash flooding, as forecasters warned of a wet week ahead. Photo: Allan Giddy

Residents in Sydney’s south-west have been asked to avoid using dishwashers and washing machines to conserve drinking water supplies after heavy storms forced the shutdown of a major filtration plant.

People living in Campbelltown, Narellan, Prestons, Macarthur and Camden areas should hold off non-essential water use, Sydney Water said.

"We're basically asking customers to be conservative in their water use for the next 24 hours," Peter Hadfield, a spokesman for Sydney Water said just after 4.45 pm.

Earlier, Sydney Water blamed heavy rain in recent days for putting"enormous pressure on the Macarthur Filtration Plant, with high levels of debris and turbulence in the catchment's water".

Bernie Sheridan, Sydney Water's treatment manager, said a succession of storms in recent days had triggered a release of silt into the Cataract Dam, reducing the quality of water reaching the plant. The water authority is currently spilling the dam to help reduce turbidity.

“We’re not expecting anyone to run out of water,” Mr Sheridan said, adding that the request for residents to curb water use is likely to continue for the rest of Tuesday.

Residents in the Macarthur region should halt discretionary water use, including filling spas or swimming pools, washing cars and watering gardens, Sydney Water said.

Low flows

Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance thanked the community for their co-operation.

“The Macarthur Filtration Plant was brought back online at 2pm this afternoon,’’ Mr Constance said. ‘‘It is operating at low flows and is currently stable. Sydney Water will continue to monitor the situation closely overnight.’’

The filtration plant was initially shut down at 4am on Tuesday.

The disruption of the filtration plant is the second failure of Sydney Water’s facilities in the wake of heavy rains in about four months.

Last November, Sydney Water warned people to avoid contact with water from the Georges River for days after the Glenfield Wastewater Treatment Plant was overwhelmed by flows after a storm. An estimated 150 megalitres of untreated wastewater flowed into the river.

Monday's rain also caused an overflow of oil into Botany Bay from Caltex's Kurnell Refinery.

More rain to come

More rain is forecast for Sydney on Tuesday, although falls are only likely to be in 5-10 millimetre range, according to Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist for Weatherzone.

Falls should again be heavy on Wednesday, though, with most eastern, southern and western suburbs likely to receive 20-30 millimetres, with the potential for 50 millimetres in some areas.

“Tomorrow’s the only real worry but it’s unlikely we’ll get as much rain as yesterday,” Mr Dutschke said.

The Camden area received almost 48 millimetres in Monday’s falls, while some areas clocked falls of as much as 50 millimetres in an hour or more.

The Cataract catchment copped heavy rains on the weekend and on Monday, triggering the silt surge into the Cataract Dam, Mr Sheridan said.

“At the moment, the risk looks fairly low in terms of the any storms causing any more trouble,” Mr Sheridan said.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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