Drought Response Plan released Port POPUP - DAupdate Port Stephens by News Of The Area - Modern Media - December 6, 2023 THE NSW Government has released a Lower Hunter Drought Response Plan, outlining how Hunter Water will conserve water in the face of drought conditions, when different levels of water restrictions will be rolled out and when alternative water sources like the Tomago Sandbeds will be utilised. Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said, “Port Stephens is proud to store most of the Hunter’s drinking water supply in Grahamstown Dam, but in times of drought, a back-up plan is sorely needed. “This plan, along with the Belmont desalination plant, ensures the Lower Hunter is well placed to weather both this and future dry periods.” Minister for Water Rose Jackson said the impact of drought was already beginning to be seen in the Lower Hunter. “We know Lower Hunter’s water supply can fall from normal operating levels to critically low levels within three years during a severe drought, so we’re being proactive, launching a comprehensive plan while water storages remain high. “This plan means we can all go into this dry period with clarity and confidence in the region’s water supply.” The NSW Government is also boosting the region’s drought resilience through the delivery of the Belmont desalination plant, which is hoped will become permanent instead of an emergency plant so the area will have a constant water source which is not reliant on rainfall.