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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Far North Coast set for level 1 restrictions

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Rous will soon implements level 1 water restrictions.

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

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  1. In a tourist town like Byron Bay I am concerned about the lack of education hosts provide to guests about water conservation. For many years some accom providers use the policy of ‘hang up your towel if happy to reuse or leave on floor if you want more’, to save launder costs. However I would like to see coin operated timers on hostel showers which I used myself as a young 70’s traveler and found them Australia wide in shower block sheds in Showgrounds. I saw them again recently at Maleny Showgrounds. I can not imagine these acceptable to Motels but could insist on water saving shower heads, not dumper shower heads as some accom. providers in Europe boast in providing. And insist on an educational note in the bathrooms to tell International guests ‘we are a desert country and we need to conserve water, please use wisely’. Another issue is Spa Baths in Motels and Resorts, unless water is recycled as grey water, we need to ban these from DAs by developer/ builders of holiday accom. Which brings me to the obligatory swimming pool that providers feel they HAVE to provide to be competitive with other providers even when their Resort/ Apartments are close to the beach. It would be advisable to ban pools, which sit there unused most of the winter months every year but still need maintenance for appearances only. Ban them from Resorts AND homes. They are a luxury Australia can no longer afford. Unless water is re-used. But what can we use chlorine rich water for? Councils can turn off the showers at the beach. The sand when dried simply brushes off the feet and legs. I have carried a large paintbrush to brush off before I get into my car. The hostels and resorts can provide paintbrushes at the door, or an outside shower with coin operation. And the English style gardens have to be a thing of the past. How many years have we been talking about planting native bush gardens instead of high maintenance English manicured gardens? I remember at least 40 years of this suggestion, to save water. Hats off to the Byron Council for planting bush flowers like Kangaroo Paw style hardy drought resistant plants which I have noted as either due to a policy change or new blood on staff. We cannot support lawn planting anymore. As nice as a lawn looks, Railway Park with all that turf was a sketch on a drawing board by a graduate of Design schools who is out of touch with reality. Unless there is bore water available like on the Rec Fields it has been money wasted. The grass cannot be maintained. We could not maintain the bit we had before so how can I believe this new turf will survive?
    I hear sprinklers on lawns in local resorts for appearances to be maintained. This is unsustainable. Council needs to tell accom. providers to steer away from lawns and high maintenance plantings. At least the ‘pebble courtyard’ epidemic as a lawn alternative can now come into its own and needs to be supported by Council.

  2. Maybe BSC should restrict watering garden beds in full blaring sun and fix connector taps so when watering , water is not squirting out everywhere.


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