Rous close to imposing water restrictions
By Will Jackson
NORTHERN Rivers residents will be on Level One water restrictions within two months without new rains.
Rous Water voted yesterday to introduce restrictions early, amid concern Rocky Creek Dam had missed its usual autumn top-up rains.
Under the changes, which were foreshadowed last month, residents will be asked to tighten their water usage when dam levels reach 65 per cent. Formal water restrictions will be introduced when dam levels hit 60 per cent, up from the previous trigger of 55 per cent.
Rous councillors also voted to introduce Level Two restrictions sooner, moving the trigger up from 45 per cent to 50 per cent.
With the dam currently at 68 per cent of capacity, and falling at the rate of about one per cent each week, according to Rous operational services manager Wayne Franklin, we have about three weeks before voluntary restrictions are introduced; and about eight weeks before mandatory restrictions are introduced, unless usage levels change or we get good rain.
Under Level One restrictions, residents will be allowed to water outdoors only from 6am to 10am, and from 3pm to 7pm. All hoses are to be fitted with an on/off nozzle and cleaning of driveways, paths, paved areas, windows and external walls is only allowed under certain circumstances, or with a high pressure water cleaner using less than 10 litres per minute.
Those measures are technically in place already, left over from restrictions introduced during the 2002-03 drought but no longer enforced.
Lismore is effectively already operating under Level Two water restrictions, thanks to the city council's Odds 'n' Evens policy, which it says has cut water usage by 12 per cent.