'This is insane': Disbelief over photo from 'wealthy' city suburb

A devastating photo has emerged of a dried up barren pond in the middle of the popular Centennial Parklands in Sydney.

The image, shared on Reddit, shows the withered bottom of Busbys Pond with not a drop of water in sight – a far cry from the expansive, sometimes lily-covered pond that is one of the park’s greatest attractions.

“The saddest walk through a park I’ve ever done,” a caption on the Reddit photo read.

“This is at Busbys Pond in Centennial Park. I strongly suggest visiting it yourself if you can to see how much the park is suffering, as it is impossible to capture how it is on camera.”

A number of others have also expressed disbelief at the scenes that have a stark similarity to land in Africa during the dry season.

“This is insane. I expect to see these images in the outback. Not here,” one said.

A split photo shows a green and full Busbys Pond (left) compared to the dried out body of water (right).
A photo of Busbys pond before the drought dried it up. Source: Instagram/Reddit

“I haven’t been to Centennial Park in a couple of years and I cannot believe that this is what it looks like now. It’s so sad. That’s such a huge pond too,” another commented.

Another hoped recent rainfall would bring some life back to the park, but it could be “too little, too late”.

“I cycled through it today for the first time since early December, and it was a WTF moment for me too. Such a dramatic change,” somebody else commented.

“Unbelievable how bad it is,” another said.

According to the Centennial Parklands website, Busbys Pond is one of the most beautiful in the parklands.

“Many waterfowl live on the pond’s islands and large numbers of little pied cormorants can be seen nesting on the northern most island in the early evenings,” it says.

Pictured are the dry, brown banks of Busbys Pond in Centennial Parklands.
Busbys Pond is all dried up due to the ongoing drought in NSW. Source: Tom Flanagan

According to the parklands, water drains into the pond from Lily Pond and Randwick Pond as well as a culvert from the Equestrian Centre and Fox Studios around Moore Park.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, November last year had the lowest rainfall on record for Australia.

Rainfall deficiencies are continuing in many areas in Australia, in particular northern NSW and the Central West, with only some increases across northern Australia.

Sydney hit with strict water restrictions

The bureau says Sydney water storage levels are continuing to drop, which has prompted harsher water restrictions around the city.

Sydney’s Level Two water restrictions started on December 10, impacting people in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions.

“NSW is currently experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record and Sydney is not exempt from the drought,” Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said.

The bottom of Busbys Pond in Centennial Parklands is cracked and dry.
People are shocked by the scenes at the Centennial Parklands. Source: Tom Flanagan

“By introducing Level 2 restrictions we will save 78.5 gigalitres of water.”

People’s outdoor water use is limited, forcing residents to tend to their garden with a watering can or bucket during approved times.

Cars can only be washed with a bucket and sponge or taken through a commercial car wash. Residents can only fill up pools and spas for 15 minutes a day using only a trigger nozzle.

The restrictions apply to water supplied to properties that residents can access through taps.

Greywater – water already used in sinks, showers and washing machines – is excluded, as it is collected rainwater and bore water.

A map Australia is covered in red showing the lack of rainfall across the country.
A map of Australia showing the lack of rainfall between October and December. Source: BoM

Hosing hard surfaces such as paths, driveways, cars, floors and buildings will be banned.

Ms Pavey said the goal is to save as much drinking water as possible, with residents and businesses facing hefty fines if they violate the restrictions.

Residents in breach of Level Two restrictions can cop a fine of $220 while businesses will be forced to pay $550.

A Centennial Parklands spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement Randwick and Busbys Ponds were at very low levels, however there was still water in other ponds within the parklands.

“Parklands ponds such as Duck Pond, Willow Pond, Model Yacht Pond, Fly Casting Pond and Kippax Lake have been providing an ongoing refuge for wildlife,” the spokesperson said.

”We continue to monitor water levels and take measures to minimise impacts on our precious water resource, plant collection and wildlife.”

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