Favourable rainfall over the last few months has seen a marked improvement to the Winburndale Rivulet, but a landowner is suggesting now's the time for Bathurst Regional Council to rethink their management of the water system.
The Winburndale Rivulet is full and flowing again, a stark contrast to four months ago when the water system was nearly dry.
In response, Winburndale Waters Conservation Group member Michael Inwood called into question council's reported releases of water from the Winburndale Dam, suggesting 750 megalitres of water had been withheld across 2019.
Mr Inwood said it's vital for council to take the appropriate measures to ensure such a situation doesn't happen again.
"We don't want the same situation as last summer where the rivulet was put back decades in ecology," he said.
"The core of what our group is about is to interact with council and water regulators to ensure everyone is satisfied with the management of the rivulet."
According to council's conditions regarding the use of Winburndale Dam, all general inflows must be released into the valve feeding the rivulet when the dam's below crest level.
Mr Inwood said the rivulet, in drier times, requires a skilled assessment regarding water allocation to maintain the quality of the water system.
"It's all about apportioning the right amount of water to environmentally safeguard to the rivulet," he said.
"In times of adequate rainfall, there's no issues, but this rivulet is prime area for platypus habitat and plant life, and must be looked after."
Mr Inwood hopes the greater visibility of the group online will help sway future direction regarding the rivulet.
"We worry the addition of Bathurst to the critical needs will entice council to take more water from the rivulet, which could prove devastating from an environmental perspective," he said.
"With Bathurst's population expected to reach 55,000 by 2036, we need to plan in earnest for an increase in water usage."
Council's manager for water and waste Russell Deans said water levels in the dam may need to be varied for operational and safety reasons during safety upgrade works.
"Our practice is to release flows from the dam into the rivulet on a continuous basis, to provide water for the environment and downstream water users," Mr Deans said.
"Should the dam overflow, as was the case last week, then additional water would flow down the rivulet."