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April 23, 2021

Water restrictions tighten as dam drops

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Rocky Creek dam is where most water for the region is sourced from. Photo Rous County Council.

Water restrictions for Byron Shire (except Mullumbimby) are set to be elevated to level two, says local water utility Rous County Council, effective January 20.

Mullumbimby is already at level four water restrictions and is supplied from Wilsons Creek. Rocky Creek Dam supplies most of the region’s potable water, including Ballina, Byron (excluding Mullumbimby), Lismore (excluding Nimbin), and Richmond Valley (excluding Casino).

Rous say the restrictions are owing to, ‘Poor rainfall outlook coupled with high water demand over the holiday period.’

Acting planning manager for Rous, Samuel Curran, says, ‘Most of the Northern Rivers is in intense drought.

‘The Bureau of Meteorology outlook is for a drier and hotter-than-average summer and a delayed monsoon season.

‘Water use in January is traditionally high with the summer holiday season. And despite a slight drop in demand after Level 1 water restrictions came into place, we have seen a steady increase in consumption over the last few weeks.’

He says Rocky Creek Dam is currently sitting around 60 per cent, but ‘dropping at a continual rate of around 2.2 per cent, per week’.

What are level two restrictions?

Under level two restrictions, Rous say water usage must be cut by 15 per cent within a reasonable time, and if there is no significant rainfall, the region may face level three water restrictions.

‘This drop is equivalent to 30 litres per person per day. This is equivalent to four minutes in the shower or two full toilet flushes.

‘The most significant non-essential use of water happens outdoors. Under level two restrictions, gardens can be watered by watering can or bucket at any time.

‘Hand-held hoses can only be used for 30 minutes before 9am and after 4pm, on odd or even days matching your house number. No watering will be permitted on the 31st of the month.

‘Significant differences from level one to level two water restrictions include outdoor watering duration reduced by half; time of day and odd/even day restrictions still apply; car washing duration reduced by half; time of day and odd/even day restrictions still apply; further restrictions on business water use including public and private pool top-ups; vehicle washing and detailing; water used for dust suppression and road construction should use non-potable water sources.

‘Businesses that rely on outdoor water use as part of their operations will need to contact their local Council to apply for an exemption.

‘Fines will apply for breaches of water restrictions – $220 for residential breaches and $550 for businesses’.

For more information, visit www.rous.nsw.gov.au.waterrestrictions.

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  1. I’m sure level 2 will be stopped today and it won’t be long and level 1 will be gone. The Rocky Creek Dam is very small for the number of people it serves. The Northern rivers needs a bigger dam or a second dam.


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