Glen Innes has received less than half its average rainfall

A water pump that shows where the usual waterline is. This photo was taken at the Glen Innes weir in March.
A water pump that shows where the usual waterline is. This photo was taken at the Glen Innes weir in March.

Glen Innes has received less than half its average rainfall in the first six months of 2019.

On average Glen Innes receives 466.4mm of rain to July 1 in 65.6 days of any rain. In 2019 Glen Innes' primary producers and dam system has received just 194.2mm of rain in 56 rain days measured at the airport.

The Glen Innes highlands has a predominantly summer rainfall pattern, with a long-term average of 131.7 rain days delivering 919.8mm of rain over the normal year.

March was the only good month so far in 2019, with 109.2mm of rain falling, 38mm more than average. That was also the last time the town received serious rain, with three days of double-digit rainfall, including the wettest day of the year on March 9.

Creeks burst their banks after 45mm of rainfall on March 9 earlier this year. It was the best day of rain so far this year.

Creeks burst their banks after 45mm of rainfall on March 9 earlier this year. It was the best day of rain so far this year.

But since then there's been scarcely a drop, with Glen Innes receiving 30mm less than average rain for every month from April through June.

July has started relatively poorly as well. The average rainfall this month is 55.4mm. So far we have received 0.4mm.

Unlike many communities through the New England residents need not fear running out of water and Glen Innes remains on level 1 restrictions at the moment. The primary water supply at the weir is running very low but the Glen Innes Severn shire also has access to the off-stream low-evaporation Eerindii ponds backup supply which is expected to last several years.

Pelicans on the Glen Innes weir, the town's primary water supply source. This photo was taken in March.

Pelicans on the Glen Innes weir, the town's primary water supply source. This photo was taken in March.

By contrast Tenterfield is running out of water rapidly with their council imposing level 4.5 water restrictions and their dam currently measuring just 33 per cent full. That means just 200 days of water.

The shire has been left chasing a new water source to back up the sky, with a panoply of government and private specialists working with staff to fast-track a solution that could include a bore.

Meanwhile Guyra has been forced to truck water in order to maintain industrial and residential use before the completion of a water pipeline and many commercial users facing strict zero allocations or massive cutbacks in water supply. Without help the town Guyra would completely run out of water in August.

Tamworth is also struggling, receiving just half its average rainfall of 356mm to July 1. The regional centre has received 176.8mm in the first six months of this year.

It's also been an unusually warm winter in Glen Innes with June's average high of 14.9 degrees over a degree warmer than the long-term mean of 13.8 degrees.

Last year was actually drier, with 159.7mm of rain in 45 wet days by this point in 2018.

In May, Glen Innes matched its coldest ever autumn day, with the minus 9.8 measurement lodged at the airport making the town the coldest place in the country.