Answers to frequently asked questions about water restrictions
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When will water restrictions start?
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 the community is now relying solely on water stored at Deep Creek Dam. The dam’s full capacity is 4,900 million litres (megalitres). At the time of introducing level 1 water restrictions it held 3,876 megalitres – less than 80 per cent.
Reducing the demand and controlling the use of water is the easiest option to prolong the supply for the shire. Council has introduced level 1 water restrictions so we can all work together to reduce the chance of Deep Creek Dam running out of water. The more we conserve now, the slower the dam levels will decrease, which will also increase our chance of having drought-breaking rains start to fill the dam again.
How does Council determine its water restrictions and when to introduce them?
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 2013 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 Guidelines.
During times when the shire is relying solely on Deep Creek Dam for its water supply, Council will carefully monitor dam levels and will introduce different water restrictions in accordance with dam level triggers. The severity of the restrictions will increase as the water level drops in the dam. The General Manager or Director Infrastructure Services may vary the adopted trigger levels after taking into account seasonal changes in water demand and the medium or long-term weather forecast.
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. There are different restrictions for residents/visitors to commercial enterprises. Clearly defined water restrictions are outlined for businesses that take into account their need for access to 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, any time between 5pm and 10am.
- One drip-irrigation system may be used instead of a hand-held hose, at any time 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 at any time. Boat motors are to be flushed on grass.
- Existing and new private swimming pools and external spas may be topped up using a hand-held hose at any time between 5pm and 10am. They should be covered when not in use.
- Boat ramps water facilities are to be used for fish and table cleaning and motor flushing only. Boat, car or trailer washing is prohibited at boat ramps.
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.
- Boat ramps water facilities are to be used for fish and table cleaning and motor flushing only.
- Washing boats, cars or trailers at boat ramps is banned.
- 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.
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 them 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 these water restrictions.
May I use my bore or spear point?
Yes. All bores should be approved by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Properties that use bore water must obtain and display a sign from Council that indicates a private bore is in operation. 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 has made every effort to advise all members of the community that the 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?
Council has erected signs at key points on the Princes Highway notifying drivers of the current level of water restrictions. The current water restrictions are listed on Council’s website, in Council’s newsletters and social media, there are handouts at libraries and information centres, media releases are issued on a regular basis and direct letters are sent to businesses and groups that rely on water for their business operations.