After the downpour: Rain boosts water levels but restrictions remain in place

Water restrictions remain firmly in place across the Lower Hunter despite parts of Port Stephens receiving more than 300 millimetres of rain across the weekend and forecasts indicating more is on its way.

While the break in summer's long, hot, dry spell was welcomed by many, the Port's State Emergency Service units were kept busy responding to calls for help in patching up leaking roofs and the downpour did little to replenish the area's drinking water resources.

"Over the weekend we saw quite good falls across the catchment areas so the ground is now wet to the point where we are starting to see some run-off into dams. Thanks to the weekend rain our total storage capacity has increased to 59.2 per cent," a Hunter Water spokesperson said.

"Hunter Water welcomes the recent rainfall but it's far from drought-breaking - much of the region continues to experience drought conditions. Level 2 water restrictions are in place and we encourage everyone to continue to comply and to save water around their homes by using four buckets of water less a day."

Nelson Bay experienced one of the greatest dousings in Port Stephens last week. The Bureau of Meteorology recorded 346mm of rainfall between Thursday and Monday, while in Williamtown 135mm was recorded for the same time.

The weekend's rain boosted water levels at Grahamstown Dam by 3.3 per cent from the week before, the Tomago Sandbeds by 8.6 per cent and Anna Bay Sandbeds by 1.8 per cent.

Chichester Dam received the greatest boost with its water level increasing by 36.2 per cent compared to last week.

Tomaree SES Unit commander Maureen Phillpot said last weekend's weather resulted in 37 jobs calls for assistance, with a majority of those leaking roofs.

"Ninety per cent of the jobs we had come in were for leaking roofs, the few others were for fallen trees," she said.

"A lot of the leaking roofs we see is caused by blocked gutters and drains. The water runs off and goes under the roof and down the windows.

"Now is the time to be cleaning out gutters and unblocking drains, securing anything in your yard that could fly away in a storm, like trampolines and aluminium furniture."

Tomaree SES Unit dealt with two fallen trees in Nelson Bay at the weekend. Picture: Facebook/NSW SES - Tomaree

Tomaree SES Unit dealt with two fallen trees in Nelson Bay at the weekend. Picture: Facebook/NSW SES - Tomaree

Port Stephens SES Unit commander David Douglas said volunteers were also called out to help with a number of leaking roofs at the weekend but said Raymond Terrace, where the unit is based, had been "pretty well unscathed".

"We were still busy but most of our jobs were helping out other units in areas that were harder hit than us like Maitland, Tomaree, Gosford and Wyong on the Central Coast," he said.

"Most of the local stuff we attended was for leaking roofs and trees and branches down, particularly in Medowie, Brandy Hill and Wallalong areas.

"After a dry spell like what we've just been though you'll find the trees have dropped a lot of leaves and branches which cause blockages and can lead to problems."

Port Stephens SES along with volunteers from other units joined Port Stephens-Hunter police on Sunday to rescue a 16-year-old boy who was trapped between debris in waist-deep water after falling into the Allyn River.

Mr Douglas echoed Ms Phillpott's call for residents to take the time this week to clear gutters and blocked drains as more rain is expected to fall across Port Stephens this weekend.

He encouraged those renting homes and unable to clean out the gutters to phone their real estate to organise to have it done and discouraged people from entering flood waters.

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