Council have this afternoon announced that if there is no rain in the Wilsons Creek catchment in the next week, Level 1 water restrictions will be implemented in Mullumbimby.
This follows a dramatic decrease last week in the water feeding the Laverty’s Gap Weir on Wilsons Creek which supplies Mullumbimby’s water.
Cameron Clark, Acting Director Infrastructure Services, said the stream flow has dropped by two megalitres in one week. ‘Two weeks ago just under four megalitres a day was being fed into the weir and this week it is hovering above one megalitre a day which is a sudden and substantial drop,’ he said.
‘Water restrictions are implemented when the flow drops to one megalitre so people need be prepared.’
Council say that with little to no rain forecast for the coming week, Mullumbimby residents should prepare for Level 1 restrictions which include: no watering of established lawns using sprinklers and fixed hoses; watering of gardens only permitted between 6am – 10am and 3pm – 7pm; all hoses must be fitted with on/off nozzles; and, topping up of swimming pools from hand-held hoses between 6am – 10am and 3pm – 7pm.
Weir extremely responsive to rainfall
‘The Laverty’s Gap Weir is extremely responsive to rainfall events so a heavy storm could see the restrictions eased quickly’, said Mr Clark.
While water restrictions have not been implemented elsewhere in the Byron Shire, residents are being asked to be careful with water use, keeping in mind that every drop counts and that if no good rain comes in the next several months restrictions may be necessary.
With the exception of Mullumbimby, Byron Shire’s water supply is provided by Rous County Council (RCC) which manages the Rocky Creek and Emigrant Creek dams. RCC is the principal water supply authority for the Lismore, Ballina and Richmond Valley Shires as well.
Rocky Creek dam is currently 83% full and RCC will bring in restrictions when that level decreases to below 60%.
‘Making some small changes to our daily water habits now can make a massive difference to how our water resources fare in the future. We know from a recent campaign run by Rous County Council that Byron Shire residents currently use an average of 160 litres a day.
‘Why wait to reach the trigger when we can take some positive and simple steps now to save thousands of litres of water in the process,’ he said.
Use water wisely
Council is urging residents to get on board with as many of the following actions as possible:
· Water the garden before 10am or after 3pm to avoid evaporation and maximise plant absorption.
· Wash cars, boats and bikes on the lawn, and use a bucket.
· Put a trigger on hand-held hoses
· Fix dripping taps – one dripping tap can waste around 20 litres a day.
· Install a rainwater tank (rebates may be available from Rous County Council)
· Shorter showers. Challenge yourself to 2-minute showers and put in a water-saving shower head.
· Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth.
· Put a plug in the sink if rinsing dishes.
· Choose water-efficient appliances.
Water levels at Rocky Creek Dam are updated regularly by Rous County Council. Go to www.rous.nsw.gov.au.