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Byron Shire
April 12, 2021

How can you help secure our future water supply?

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Three benefits of saving water now: 1. Reducing water use will also reduce energy consumption. 2. Simple changes can save you money on water and electricity bills. 3. Reducing demand on the region’s main water source, Rocky Creek Dam, will delay future water restrictions and the need for new infrastructure. Photo supplied.

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Spain is known for being dry and I was once told an hilarious story about English expats who followed their dream and bought a home there. They happily started using water in the same way they had in the wetter climes of England. That was until the water stopped. Outraged, they contacted the water company only to be told they had exceeded their water limit and they would have no more water until the next month.

Water wasn’t like some internet deals where when you go over your limit you either pay an exorbitant price for the rest of the month or have to go to a trickle feed of data – in parts of Spain you have to wait until your water allowance is renewed for the water to flow out of your taps once more.

Your water

Rous County Council (RCC) manages the water supply to businesses and residents in the Byron, Lismore, Ballina, and Richmond Valley LGAs. The supply of water is currently secure until around 2024.

That is, the predicted growth of the population combined with the impact of climate change (reduced rainfall, increased evaporation, and reduced reliability of current water sources) should mean that we don’t face water restrictions more than five per cent of the time; and during restrictions the supply can meet 90 per cent of usual demand.

The problem is that unless we actively start to reduce our average water use and secure other supplies of water now our future water security is at risk.

On average Northern Rivers residents use 194 litres of water per person per day and RCC have said that residents need to reduce water usage to 160 litres per person per day to help secure the region’s water security over the longer term.

To predict the future water use a Future Water Strategy (FWS) has been developed and ‘this forecast shows that water demand will grow by around 50 per cent over the next approximately 40 years,’ said Michael McKenzie, planning manager for RCC.

‘Rous’s existing water sources can cater for the demand for water in the short to medium term. However, Rous has been planning for our region’s longer-term needs. The FWS is based on three key actions, which are to: Maximise water efficiency through demand management and conservation; investigate increased use of groundwater as a new water source; investigate the suitability of water re-use as an additional new water source.’

160-litre challenge

So what can you do? Rous is encouraging residents, businesses, schools, and community groups to come on board and join the 160-litre challenge and come up with new and innovative ways to save water.

‘So far we have had a great response from the schools in the hinterland and we’d really like the schools on the coast to come on board with ideas on how to save water,’ said RCC spokesperson Kylie Bott.

It doesn’t matter if you are on town water or have your own water source, Rous is keen for people to share their ideas on saving water. It is as simple as taking a photo or a short video of your idea and entering their 160-litre water challenge.

Prizes are on offer for both children and adults from yearly passes to Wet ’n’ Wild to a dishwasher or washing machine. Find out more online at .

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  1. Two smart ways is to:
    1. Tap in directly from the desalination plant at Tugun if QLD will allow you the right to pipe water to the southern end of northern N.S.W. and
    2. Do what Orange County in California have been doing for years [see, https://www.ocwd.com/what-we-do/water-reuse/%5D or view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMsQrOBx-Fk and that is recycle water.
    The latter would be more costly to set up but each shire or district could be with their own supply of water and once set up, it’s permanent with a continuous flow.

  2. I would do what we did 10 years ago which is to install 66,000 litres of tank water capacity. For two people that is OK now and the tanks overflow a lot. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we needed to double that capacity by the end of the next decade or so to make up for the expected decreases in rainfall due to climate change over that period……../C

  3. Tweed is blessed with virtually unlimited water.
    Trying to get some useful outcome from the Tugun Desal Plant? Forget it.
    Let it rust away.
    It should never have been built. It is already half way through its life span.
    There is planning in place for water supplies in the Tweed for many generations to come.
    We are blessed with rainfall and geography ideally suited for free water. Some may call them Dans.
    If you want to push sustainability then encourage tanks to collect rainwater.
    I’m telling you Tweed rain water is like chilled Perrier?

  4. Shut down the North Byron Parklands Splendour etc events, that are progressing to 58,000 attendees (50,000 official tickets, plus 8000 workers, bands and associates). But of course accommodation for the 58,000 (in a Shire of 30,000 residents) will increasingly see empty residential houses for much of the year as residential houses are increasingly just used for holiday lets.

  5. The Cullector is an amazing new Australian Invention designed to save water in the shower. Its an easy DIY retrofit and combines several water saving features into one simple device.

    Based on flow rate alone the Cullector is in the top 5% of all WELS products. When the Cullectors’ additional water saving features are taken into consideration it’s clearly the standout water saving shower solution.

    The Cullector provides environmental and financial benefit far beyond that of the initial user and is a necessary and timely inclusion to global water conservation.

    We are currently seeking a buyer for the patent who has the capacity to take the product to market. You can check it out here: https://cullector.com


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