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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

The value of water

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It has come to our attention that the Falls Festival, with 35,000 people on site (the population of Byron Shire) will be accessing water for the festival from Rous County Council (RCC), which supplies Byron and elsewhere.

Falls first went to Tweed Shire for needed (and convenient) water, but on 7 November 2019, Tweed Shire Council passed this resolution unanimously: ‘RESOLVED that Council not grant an exemption from its policy, Drought Water Restrictions v3.2, to the North Byron Parklands for their Falls Festival from 30 December 2019 to 2 January 2020.’

Tweed Council decided to put their ratepayers first in this time of extreme drought. So what will Falls do? Well, the plan is for them to tap into the bulk water main at Tyagarah. So if you depend on water from RCC, you will be in competition with Falls.

Mullum is on Level 3 water restrictions now. From 7 December, the rest of the Shire will go on Level 1 restrictions, and those restrictions will escalate if the dry continues.

As we comply with water restrictions, 35,000 people will be partying at Falls, drinking water to keep hydrated, relaxing in swimming pools that are refilled repeatedly, using toilets, taking showers, enjoying misting areas to keep cool, and water being sprayed on the roads to keep down the dust etc. Those 35,000 are on top of all the other visitors the Shire gets during the holidays – people who also depend on RCC water for their daily needs.

In this time of extreme drought, we have to start being realistic with water, as Tweed Shire Council has done. It is now a very precious commodity for our life and safety. We hope Council will put Shire residents first by helping Falls find a source for water other than RCC water.


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  1. Excellent idea, especially given the likely fire threat as well in Dec/Jan. No doubt Tweed Shire has been happy to supply water in the past as, given the location of NBP, most additional economic activity the festivals bring likely goes to that shire anyway but they cannot countenance supplying another shire in such a drought.

    RCC water tasted like a swimming pool by the end of the millennium drought. Visitor numbers have exploded since then along with increased population in the catchment area. Time for some hard decisions?


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