The major water supply for the Far North Coast is Rocky Creek Dam which is currently at 75.6 per cent and Rous County Council says they will implement Level 1 water restrictions when the level reaches 70 per cent.
The decision was made at an extraordinary Council meeting in conjunction with Lismore, Ballina, Byron and Richmond Valley Councils.
Several factors have contributed to restrictions being brought in before Rocky Creek Dam reaches 60 per cent capacity, which is the normal trigger point according to the water supplier’s Regional Water Supply Drought Management Plan.
Water consumption across the Rous supply area for October and November has been more than 20 per cent higher than the same period in 2018.
The water authority’s Chairperson Cr Keith Williams said the decision is a prudent one. ‘Applying Level 1 water restrictions before Rocky Creek Dam reaches 60 per cent is a signal to the community that we need to make water conservation an everyday part of our lives.
‘The decision has been based on falling dam levels, declining inflows into Rocky Creek Dam, a poor outlook for rainfall for summer, community sentiment that restrictions were required and water restrictions being in place for most of our neighbouring towns and council areas.
‘A rapid drop in water levels at Rocky Creek Dam combined with a drier than average outlook for the rest of spring are the primary reasons for restricting water use now.
‘It’s essential we reduce demand now to prolong our water supply.
‘If dam levels drop further or reductions in consumption are not met, we could be looking at higher level restrictions. We urge people to reduce their water usage now to delay the introduction of tougher water restrictions.
‘Water carters will be unaffected by the restrictions. It is vitally important that this service continues to provide drinking water to the many parts of our community that aren’t serviced by reticulated water.
‘Rous will continue to work with water carters and our constituent councils to improve access to water to reduce waiting times where possible,’ said Cr Williams.
Under Level 1 restrictions, Council means to reduce water usage by five per cent. If this target is not met within a reasonable timeframe, Council may decide to escalate water restrictions.
Level 1 residential water-saving measures include: watering established gardens with hand-held hoses fitted with an on/off nozzle
for one hour every second day, between 4pm and 9am on odd or even days matching house numbers; topping up swimming pools permitted between 4pm and 9am using handheld hose fitted with an on/off nozzle; washing cars with hand-held hoses permitted between 4pm and 9am on odd or even days matching house numbers.
Restrictions apply to Council’s direct customers and the local government areas it services with bulk water: Ballina (excluding Wardell), Byron (excluding Mullumbimby), Lismore (excluding Nimbin) and Richmond (excluding Casino and all land west of Coraki).
They apply to residential urban and rural properties, public facilities, and business and commercial properties.
Compliance with the water restrictions is reliant on the community acknowledging the need to reduce their water consumption and reducing the wasting of water, particularly on outside use.
For more information about water restrictions and how to safe water, visit the Rous website: www.rous.nsw.gov.au