Council declares war on water waste

DEVELOPERS of all new buildings in the Lismore Local Government Area will have to show they are installing water-saving measures before they can get council approval.

Lismore City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to support the Water Sensitive Design Development Control Plan to meet water reduction performance targets.

The original motion put forward by Cr Vanessa Ekins to have rainwater tanks made mandatory on all new residential, commercial and industrial buildings was watered down because of staff concerns it conflicted with State legislation.

A report to councillors said: “The State Legislative and regulatory framework (via a State Environmental Planning Policy) does not allow rainwater tanks to be made mandatory for all buildings at a local level.”

Cr Ekins said it was 'a small step, but a step in the right direction'.

The report said a water design plan would require potable water consumption reduction for all new buildings.

The report says: “For commercial and industrial developments this reduction may be achieved by various methods, e.g., installing rainwater tanks, using less water in their production, on-site water detention, recycling water, etc.

“Typically, commercial and industrial premises have peculiar water needs and rainwater harvesting may not be the most effective method of reduced water consumption. In some cases, like residential developments, tanks may be the preferred option.”

After discussing the matter with staff, Cr Ekins backed the revised motion.

“This will trigger a water-saving action plan and developers will have to identify what they are going to do to save water,” she said.

“Those actions can become part of the consent and it means staff will have a tool they can use in discussions with developers, and developers have some guidelines.”

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