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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Less flush and splash to save Tweed and Mullum water

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The Tweed Shire and the township of Mullum are both asking residents toturn off their taps in an effort to prolong current water supplies – Mullum has already begun water restrictions and it looks like Tweed may not be far behind.

Tweed Council say that water restrictions will be implemented by Christmas unless there is significant rain.

The Tweed’s only water storage at Clarrie Hall Dam is at 86 per cent capacity and falling a further 1.5 per cent every week, prompting Council to remind the community that we all have the power to take a shorter shower.

Water Efficiency Engineer Elizabeth Seidl said taking a shorter shower is the single biggest water-saving behaviour. ‘ Everyone can achieve this and you don’t need an egg timer, just your favourite four-minute song.

‘Press play, turn on the tap, soap up, wash off and be out before the song finishes.’

Tweed residents are using 189 litres of water per person, per day

On average, Tweed residents are still using 189 litres of water per person every day against a target of 160 litres and water restrictions will be implemented before Christmas if we don’t get significant rain soon.

The water supply at Tyalgum is critically low and water restrictions will be imposed as early as next week, adding to the existing ban on water carting from both the Tyalgum and Uki water supplies.

‘We had estimated the level of Clarrie Hall Dam to fall by one per cent a week but it’s actually falling by 1.5 per cent a week. So our dam supply, which tops up the Tweed River for raw water extraction at Bray Park Weir, will not last as long as we had anticipated,’ said Ms Seidl.

‘Singing in the shower is perfectly acceptable; running out of water is not. Now is the time we can each make the biggest difference to how long our water supply lasts by cutting our unnecessary water usage.’

To help residents save water, Council is ramping up its Target 160L campaign and asking the community to spread the message to do the Tweed a favour and become a water saver.

Residents wanting a visual reminder of the top tips to save water in both the house and the yard can pick up a handy fridge magnet from either of Council’s offices at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads. Those who have already stopped watering the garden can pick up a sign or sticker for posting in the front yard or on their letterbox advertising their water-saving effort. These items will be available early next week.

‘We know that Tweed residents can use less water because in 2013 we achieved a daily average of 169 litres per person a day under our Target 170L campaign. Now, we need to do more,’ said Ms Seidl.

Mullum: level 1 water restrictions

Byron Shire Council has announced that Mullumbimby has already had to turn off the tap as Level 1 water restrictions are in effect immediately..

This comes after a two megalitre decrease in one week of the water feeding the Laverty’s Gap Weir on Wilsons Creek, which supplies Mullumbimby’s water.

Byron Shire Council’s Manager Utilities, Cameron Clark said the catchment area has only received 5mm of rainfall over the past week.

‘The flow into the weir is now under one mega-litre (per day) and it’s time to restrict water use,’ he said. ‘We were hoping there would be some rain last weekend that would have topped up the water level, but while there were a few showers, there was no substantial change.’

What does it mean?

It has been 15 years since water restrictions were in place in Mullumbimby. Mr Clark said the current levels are some of the lowest flows into the weir since 2004.

Level 1 water restrictions mean: 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; topping up of swimming pools from hand-held hoses only permitted between 6am–10am and 3pm–7pm.

For business operators, such as nurseries, and rural irrigation it restricts use of sprinklers to two hours per day. Businesses should check Council’s website for permitted hours of use. Auto flush urinals on timers are also banned on commercial premises.

Water restrictions are enforceable and penalties apply – they will remain in force until further notice.

Fines of $220 will apply to individuals, and $550 for businesses who don’t comply with the restrictions.

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  1. I want to know when water mining is going to be stopped too. Its outrageous for underground water to be taken at any time as the flora and fauna rely upon it and it helps prevent such catastrophic bushfires as we are seeing now. How can governments justify allowing this practice to continue? We are happy to do our part to save water. WHAT WILL GOV AND Water mining companies and bottled water companies contribute? DO YOUR PART OR HANG YOUR HEADS IN SHAME.

  2. I have always been water conscious, only flushing the toilet when necessary, buckets in my shower, grey water hose for my washing machine, using a plastic square bucket in my sink to wash up and then recycle the water for the plants or even to flush the toilet. Making sure that there is no leaking taps or hoses. It always saddens me to see people hosing driveways. If your car needs a wash, simply go onto the lawn under shade if possible and wait to the cooler part of the day to do so. Turn taps off while cleaning your teeth. We can all do so much more to eliminate waste. Water is precious and so are our children and wildlife, let’s give a damn!!!!


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