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Answers to frequently asked questions about water restrictions

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When did water restrictions start?

Water restrictions began in Eurobodalla on 14 October 2019 at level 1. With no increase in river flows, level 3 water restrictions were introduced on 2 December 2019.

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 level 3 restrictions?

Residents and visitors can water gardens using one hand-held hose at a time, for a maximum of 60 minutes per day between either 6-8am or 6-8pm.

Cars and boats can be washed on grassed areas using buckets between either 6-8am or 6-8pm. Final rinse with a trigger nozzle hose.

Existing covered swimming pools or outdoor spas can be topped up using a hand-held hose for a maximum of 60 minutes per day between either 6-8am or 6-8pm.

Flushing boat engines and rinsing fish at Council's marine facilities will be prohibited.

Using sprinklers, micro-spray systems or unattended hoses will remain prohibited as will washing down hard surfaces.

Why have we moved from level 1 restrictions straight to level 3?

Given the dry outlook for summer, it will be easier for our community to transition directly to level 3 restrictions than jump through the levels before the busy holiday period. Current trends show Deep Creek Dam dropping at about 1.5 percent each week. Securing our potable water through summer will need the whole community to pull together.

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.

Can I use water if there is a fire emergency at or near my home?

Water restrictions do not apply where a fire emergency has been declared in your area. Please follow all emergency service directions.

Water restrictions do not apply to emergency services at any time.

What happens if I ignore the restrictions?

For significant or multiple breaches, Council’s rangers are authorised to issue penalties for non-compliance with water restrictions under section 637 of the Local Government Act 1993. Repeat offences may lead to disconnection of water to the property. A reconnection fee will be required.

Am I responsible if my tenant ignores the restrictions?

Yes. The property owner is responsible for all water used on their property. If the property is disconnected because of water restriction infringements, you will be required to pay a reconnection fee.

What do I do if I see people not adhering to the 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.

I’m on town water but I have a water tank  – do the restrictions apply to my tank water?

Yes. All water on a property connected to Council’s reticulated system must be used in accordance with water restrictions.

I live on a property not connected to town water – do the restrictions apply to me?

If a water carter has topped up your tank then the water must be used in accordance with water restrictions.

May I use my bore or spear point?

Yes. However, bore water is a finite resource and should be used sparingly. All bores must be approved by Water NSW. Properties using bore water are required to display a sign, available from Council, indicating bore water is in use. To register a bore, call Water NSW 1300 662 077.

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.

Why are car washes still allowed to use water?

Car washes in Eurobodalla have water-saving measures in place all year round. These include using trigger nozzle hoses and recycling more than 80 per cent of on-site water.

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 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.

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 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 are watered in accordance with water 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.