As of Monday the 7th January 2019 Gwydir Shire Council activated a Level 1 Water Restriction.
The Gwydir Shire water supply is designed to be secure but there will be times under prolonged drought conditions when Gwydir Shire will be forced to restrict water usage in order to preserve the supplies to meet essential needs. The water supply scheme and drought management is driven by defined trigger points based on consumption, storage and weather factors.
When the region experiences an extended dry period and the long term outlook by the Bureau of Meteorology indicates a lower than normal prediction for good rainfall, Council has a duty to follow the Drought Management Plan which encompass these events. The Gwydir Shire is not alone with many other towns facing the same issues, in some cases neighbouring shires were forced to impose restrictions at the beginning of summer.
Understandably many residents are concerned about Council’s continued use of water outside the allocated watering times. While Council has a duty to maintain parks and gardens and shared spaces, it is working hard to reduce water consumption and ensure watering is complete in the early parts of the day. It is taking time to refine these processes but we are getting there.
Under the Drought Management Plan, Council has a system where public parks, gardens and playing fields are prioritised from 1-5, with Category 1 the highest priority, Category 5 the lowest. As restrictions are introduced the lower priority sites stop being irrigated completely.
When Level 4 water restrictions are reached irrigation stops completely on all public parks, gardens and playing fields. Level 1 water restrictions are the first step to ensure we keep our water levels as steady as possible as well as prepare us for the dry weeks ahead. If there is no substantial rainfall in the coming months, Level 2 water restrictions would be announced in the future.
A guide to water usage under the five levels of restrictions has been developed so that residents are better equipped to understand their obligations as a water user during drought conditions. For a copy of the water restriction guidelines visit the link.