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Answers to frequently asked questions about water restrictions

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When did water restrictions start?

Level 1 water restrictions began in Eurobodalla on Monday 14 October.

These restrictions will be in force until further notice.

Why do we have water restrictions?

Eurobodalla gets its water supply from the Deua and Tuross Rivers. Water from the Deua River is pumped into an off-river storage at Deep Creek Dam. The continued lack of significant rainfall in the catchment means river flows have all but ceased and we often rely solely on water stored at Deep Creek Dam.

Reducing the demand and controlling the use of water is the easiest way to prolong the supply for the shire. Introducing restrictions allows us to work together to conserve water, slowing the rate water leaves Deep Creek Dam.

How does Council determine water restrictions and when to introduce them?

Eurobodalla enjoys a healthy water supply most of the time, however, when river flows reduce during drought conditions the level of our water storage in Deep Creek Dam also drops.

Clause 137 of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 allows for restrictions to be imposed if Council deems it necessary. Council’s Water Restrictions Policy 2017 works in accordance with the Eurobodalla Water Supply Drought Management Plan, which was developed by Council and NSW Public Works in accordance with the NSW Government Best Practice Guideline.

During times when Eurobodalla is relying solely on Deep Creek Dam for its water supply, we will carefully monitor its levels and will introduce different water restrictions in accordance with dam level triggers. The General Manager or Director Infrastructure Services may vary the adopted trigger levels after taking into account seasonal water demand variations, river flows and the medium or long-term weather forecast. The severity of the restrictions will increase as the water level drops in the dam.

We will let the community know about changes to the level of water restrictions on this page, through local newspapers, radio, social media, Council newsletters and signage throughout Eurobodalla. Water restrictions are enforceable and apply to all water users in the Eurobodalla, including residents, visitors and businesses.

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Who is affected by water restrictions?

Everyone who uses the Eurobodalla water supply is affected. This includes all ratepayers, residents, visitors, community groups, commercial businesses, industries and public services, including Council. Restrictions for residents and visitors are different to commercial enterprises. Clearly defined water restrictions are outlined for businesses that take into account their need for water to continue their operations. Emergency services, including fire brigades, SES, police and ambulance operations are exempt from water restrictions at all levels.

How will my outdoor water use change with the introduction of level 1 restrictions?

The use of sprinklers, micro-spray systems and unattended hoses is banned completely until further notice. Washing down hard surfaces with a hose or pressure cleaner is also banned.

Residents and visitors can use one hand-held hose at a time, or a drip irrigation system, at any time between 5pm and 10am. Cars and boats can be washed on grassed areas at any time using buckets with a final rinse with a trigger nozzle hose.

You may top up your existing or new outdoor swimming pool or spa using a hand-held hose only between 5pm and 10am (covers are always recommended when not in use).

Why is it only outside water use that has restrictions?

Statistics show that 40 to 60 per cent of the water used in the home is used on the garden. If we can reduce the average home water usage by just 30 per cent, we can extend the length of time we have water left in Deep Creek Dam.

What is Council doing to reduce its water consumption?

After the last severe drought and subsequent water restrictions in 2009, Council introduced water reduction measures into practices at all Council facilities.

These include installing low-flow showerheads at all Council facilities including sports fields and beach showers, automatic shut-off, low-flow taps at all public toilets and high-usage and leak alert processes at all Council facilities.

We also use pool blankets to prevent evaporation and heat loss and shower timers on public swimming pools.

Rainwater tanks are installed at Council’s Moruya depot and administration buildings.

Public gardens and sports fields will be watered in accordance with water restrictions.

It’s raining. Why do we still have water restrictions?

Water restrictions are introduced when river flows in our catchment (Tuross and Deua) are low or non existent. Although it may be raining on the coast, it may not be enough rain to provide runoff into the rivers to increase their flow.

What are the level 1 water restrictions for residents and visitors?

  • Fixed sprinklers, micro-spray systems, and unattended hoses are banned.
  • Washing hard surface areas with a hose is banned.
  • Watering times for gardens and lawns: one hand-held hose may be used at a time, between 5pm and 10am.
  • One drip-irrigation system may be used instead of a hand-held hose, between 5pm and 10am.
  • Private vehicles and boats can be washed on grassed areas using buckets and a final rinse with a trigger nozzle hose between 5pm and 10am.
  • Flush boat motors on grass.
  • Existing and new private swimming pools and external spas may be topped up using a hand-held hose between 5pm and 10am. They should be covered when not in use.
  • Boat ramp water facilities are for fish cleaning and boat engine flushing only. Washing water craft, trailers or vehicles at boat ramps is prohibited at all times.

What are the level 2 water restrictions for residents and visitors?

  • Sprinklers, micro-spray systems, and unattended hoses are banned.
  • Washing hard surfaces with a hose is banned.
  • Use one hand-held hose to water gardens between 6am and 8am in the morning, and between 6pm and 8pm in the evening.
  • Instead of a hand-held hose, use one drip-irrigation system either between 6am and 8am in the morning or between 6pm and 8pm in the evening.
  • Wash private vehicles and boats on grassed areas using buckets either between 6am and 8am in the morning or between 6pm and 8pm in the evening. A final rinse with a trigger nozzle hose is allowed.
  • Flush boat motors on grass.
  • Existing and new private swimming pools and external spas may be topped up using a hand-held hose either between 6am and 8am in the morning or between 6pm and 8pm in the evening. They should be covered when not in use.
  • Boat rams water facilities are for fish and table cleaning and boat engine flushing only. Washing water craft, trailers or vehicles at boat ramps is prohibited at all times.

What happens if I ignore the restrictions?

Council’s rangers are delegated to issue penalties for non-compliance with water restrictions under section 637 of the Local Government Act 1993. However, most people realise the importance of conserving water and adhering to the restrictions to ensure the future security of our water supply.

My water comes from a rainwater tank – do the water restrictions apply to me?

Rainwater tanks topped up by Council’s water supply either because they are connected to Council’s reticulated system as a backup or are filled by commercial water carters must still be used in accordance with water restrictions.

May I use my bore or spear point?

Yes, at level 1. Residents must have their bore approved by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and must obtain and display a sign from Council that indicates a private bore is in operation on the property. Bore water is a finite resource so should be used sparingly.

What do I do if I see people not adhering to the water restrictions?

Council makes every effort to advise all members of the community when water restrictions are in place, however some people (especially visitors) may be unaware of them or do not fully understand the implications of not conserving water. Some businesses have formally applied for exemptions and had them approved by Council for valid reasons. If you see what you believe to be a misuse of water, contact Council on 4474 1000.

What should I do if I think I have good reasons to be exempt from the restrictions?

Contact Council on 4474 1000 and discuss your case. You can ask for an Application for Variation form to fill in and return. Your application will be assessed as quickly as possible and you will receive formal notice in writing if you are exempt. Even if you are considered exempt from the current water restrictions, it’s always important to look for areas where you can reduce your water use.

Am I responsible if my tenant ignores water restrictions?

Yes. If you pay water rates for a property that is disconnected because of water restriction infringements, you will be required to pay a reconnection fee.

What happens if no significant rain falls in the catchment?

If, as a community, we conserve water by sticking to the current water restrictions, we can secure our water supply well into the future. However, there are certain trigger points (the level of remaining water in Deep Creek Dam, the rate of usage, long-term weather forecasts etc) that may require us to introduce more stringent restrictions.

How will I know if water restrictions have changed?

We have signs at key points on the Princes Highway alerting commuters to the current restrictions. The current water restrictions are listed on Council’s website, in Council’s newsletters and social media, at libraries, information centres and in local papers. Media releases are issued when water restrictions change.