Water sources for Coffs Harbour residents

Regardless of whether the water supplying Coffs Harbour City Council residents comes from the Orara River or the Nymboida River, our water all comes from the same catchment.

The mighty Clarence River catchment is 22,716km2 in size, making it the one of the biggest river systems on the east coast of Australia.

The Clarence River catchment headwaters are found around Dorrigo to the south, near Glen Innes in the west, the NSW/QLD border near Woodenbong in the north and along the Richmond Range to the south of Whiporie out to the coast where the Clarence River empties into the Pacific Ocean at Yamba. It is estimated that the average annual flow of water in the Clarence River at Yamba is 5 billion litres.

Water Supply from the Clarence River Catchment

Coffs Harbour City Council has two water supply systems supplying treated water to the whole city. The smaller system supplies water for the village of Nana Glen. The biggest system, Coffs Harbour Water Supply, supplies water mainly to coastal consumers from Sawtell in the south to Corindi Beach in the north, but also Coramba in the west. 

There are several sources of water for the Coffs Harbour Water Supply: 

  • Orara River - Raw water is pumped from the Orara River at Cochranes Pool, when the quality is good, to fill Karangi Dam. When the water quality is poor no pumping occurs.

  • Karangi Dam - The Coffs Harbour Water Supply centres around Karangi Dam, an off-stream storage facility which is filled with raw water from either the Orara River or, via the Regional Water Supply Scheme, the Nymboida River or Shannon Creek Dam.

  • Regional Water Supply Scheme - Coffs Harbour City Council worked in partnership with Clarence Valley Council to construct the Regional Water Supply Scheme (RWSS) to provide a safe and secure water supply into the future for our respective communities. The RWSS is based on the Nymboida River and Shannon Creek Dam, an off-stream storage facility built near the village of Coutts Crossing in the Clarence Valley Council area.

Reclaimed water

For many water users and public facilities in the Coffs Harbour City Council area, reclaimed water is a very important source of water.

Rainwater tanks

If you have a rainwater tank at your house, it could serve as an extra source of water, or it could be your sole supply of water if your property is not connected to the public water supply.

Learn about installing a rainwater tank