22.6 C
Byron Shire
November 28, 2021

Mullum facing critical water shortage as restrictions fail to bite

Latest News

COVID update: a new Byron case, Aquarius and Community Support Accommodation

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there was one new case of COVID-19 was reported for NNSWLHD to 8pm, November 25. This case is located in the Byron Local Government Area, a traveller from outside the region and e is not associated with the Aquarius Backpackers.

Other News

New Russian satellite-killer produces decades of fallout

‘Irresponsible’ Russian anti-satellite weapon sends shockwaves through space community with 1500 fresh fragments cannoning about in low-Earth orbit.

Asbestos: it’s in 1 in 3 homes

This year’s National Asbestos Awareness Week campaign asks Australians to ‘Think Twice About Asbestos’. The campaign challenges complacency by reminding home renovators and tradespeople that the danger of asbestos is far from over.

Ballina council votes for waterfront affordable and social housing

The Ballina Shire Council has voted unanimously to ask for state government commitment on waterfront affordable and social housing as part of a marina upgrade.

Nathan Jones says he wants to see Tweed Council ‘working together’ for positive outcomes

Nathan Jones is one of two ungrouped candidates in the 4 December Tweed Council elections. Nathan says he has many years of experience in accounting and teaching and has based his campaign on reducing government with his headline campaign being ‘No State Governments means no border wall’.

Ballina mayoral candidate calls for tighter holiday letting rules

Byron’s status as the only shire exempt from NSW holiday letting regulations could be under threat as a declared housing crisis on the Northern Rivers continues.

Public access to Bruns foreshore reduced by Reflections, say residents

Brunswick Heads residents are concerned that the managers of the Terrace Reserve Holiday Park are failing to stick to a court-ordered plan for the park, resulting in a potential loss of public access to the precious Brunswick River foreshore.

Paul Bibby

Average daily water consumption in Mullumbimby has not fallen at all despite the introduction of water restrictions, Byron Council says.

Council’s director of infrastructure services and its acting general manager, Phil Holloway, said the daily water use remained at around 270 litres of water per person per day, even though level four water restrictions have been in place for more than two weeks.

The target for the region is 160 litres per person per day.

Unlike the rest of the Byron Shire, which gets its water from the Rocky Creek dam via Rous County Council, Mullumbimby is serviced by Laverty’s Gap – a relatively small catchment in Wilson’s Creek.

Owing to this specific supply running very low, the town has moved up to level four water restrictions while the rest of the Shire has been on level 1 restrictions.

Yet, despite these increased restrictions, which include no watering of gardens, lawns, washing cars, driveways etc, and essential use of showers, taps, toilets and washing machines; there has been no reduction in water use.

The situation is now approaching critical levels.

‘Since November [when water restrictions were introduced] the average water consumption per person in Mullumbimby hasn’t really diminished,’ Mr Holloway said.

‘The water supply into Laverty’s Gap [Mullumbimby’s water supply] is roughly 0.5 mega litres a day, but water consumption in Mullumbimy is roughly 1 mega litre a day.’

‘That’s obviously a pretty dire situation.’

Mr Holloway urged those in the community who were not limiting their water use to start doing so immediately.

‘We need to really get out there and educate the community about what we need to do, and to emphasise the importance of doing it,’ he said.

‘We need to start knocking on doors, perhaps doing a pop-up [stall] in town.

‘We need people to recognise that water is a precious resource.’

He said that Council had activated the Rous emergency water line – a pipe that connects to part of Mullumbimby from the Main Rous County Council water supply.

This was currently balancing out the usage in the town, but could not be guaranteed as a long or even medium term solution.

‘Rous County Council already has responsibility for providing supply to the rest of the Byron Shire along with Lismore, Ballina and Evans Head,’ Mr Holloway said.

‘We can’t draw on their supply indefinitely.’

‘The next step is to introduce level 5 restrictions. Obviously we’re not there yet, but if we don’t reduce our consumption and we don’t get any rain then that will become the option.

Level 5 restrictions are emergency level restrictions, and can involve limiting supply to homes and businesses.

Measures that locals can take to reduce water consumption include:

* Making sure your washing machine or dishwasher is full before use

* No more than one short shower per day

* Limiting toilet flushes

* Turning off or fixing dripping taps, especially before going on holidays

* Recycling water as much as possible

Mr Holloway said council had not been cruising the streets looking to those breaching water restrictions, but was considering increasing its compliance activities.

‘It’s normally an honesty system. We haven’t got the water police out there.

‘But if you see someone who’s blatantly breaching the restrictions we encourage you to report it to council.’

Byron Council itself has significantly reduced its water consumption and increased its use of recycled water.

‘We’ve increased our recycled water use from one mega litre to two mega litres,’ Mr Holloway said.

‘That’s being done through using recycled water in our toilet facilities, road works and irrigation operations.

Of additional concern is the increased use of water by tourists visiting the Shire.

‘People are a bit more relaxed about things like water use when they’re on holidays,’ Mr Holloway said.

‘We need to get the message out there so that people know it’s an issue and to be really careful.’

• This story initially incorrectly stated that Clarie Hill dam, not Rocky Creek dam, as the water source for most of the region.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Up here in Huonbrook we have been extremely conscious of every drop of water we use since September.

    . Our creeks are barely running as more and more residents use the creeks for domestic use. Its time this was rectified, creeks are habitat for many creatures.

    Water tanks should be compulsory on every roof regardless where the dwelling is.

  2. Has Council checked their pipes for leakage? The grass between the road and my front border is just so lush that it was difficult to mow. Inside my border, I don’t have grass, I have cornflakes!!

  3. It’s alright ! they will figure it out when the water’s gone. This is just an extension of Federal Governments attitude to resources, just keep flogginit until all hell breaks loose, then move to Hawaii.
    Cheers for the ‘status quo’ G”)

  4. So how many properties are pumping water directly out of Wilson’s Creek to fill their tanks atm? That’s where I’d start door knocking! Pretty sure if Council asked to see the receipts for water deliveries in that area for past month they would get to the bottom of it.

  5. Its Not hard to see why the water level usage hasn’t dropped since level 4 restrictions. We have had an influx of thousands of tourist for the festive season.

  6. Accross from the the Mullumbimby Co-op is a valve, this valve controls the volume of water from the reservoir. By simply closing the valve slighty you lessen consumption in Mullumbimby, the only difference is a slight drop in water pressure. No one has mentioned this valve, the water operators use to use it. Is it still in use?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kingscliff Public School gets long-awaited upgrade

If you were wondering what is happening at Kingscliff Public School, construction is well underway on an upgrade.

Community carers and responders program launched

Following the recent second anniversary of the bushfires that hit our region, Resilient Byron say they are proud to announce the beginning of their...

Leigh Thomas says political affiliations not relevant to Council decision making

Leigh Thomas is the lead candidate for Group M running in the upcoming Tweed Shire Council elections. Mr Thomas is a member of the...

When we get to 95 per cent vaccination, this will happen

Just when we were getting used to the current COVID roadmap, it has changed directions. Adjustments to previous settings scheduled for this milestone were announced yetserday.