WATER WARNING: Level 1 restrictions imposed
WATER restrictions are now in place across the Northern Rivers.
Level 1 water restrictions will apply to the council areas of Ballina (including Wardell and Meerschaum Vale), Byron, Lismore, and Richmond Valley (excluding land to the west of Coraki) as of tomorrow.
The towns of Mullumbimby and Casino are currently on Level 3 water restrictions and Nimbin is on Level 2 water restrictions. Varying restrictions apply in the region due to different water sources for these areas.
Restrictions have been introduced early in response to high water usage by the community, low inflows into the region's main dam at Rocky Creek and a dry outlook for summer.
Without moderate rainfall before the end of the year, the catchment of Rocky Creek Dam will experience its lowest rainfall since 1973 - and a quarter less rainfall than was received during each of the years of the millennial drought.
Rous County Council's Chairman, Cr Keith Williams, said the region will face Level 2 restrictions before Christmas if the community does not act now to reduce demand.
"If water usage is not cut by five per cent and there is no significant rainfall it is likely we will increase water restrictions to Level 2 before Christmas."
Water consumption across the region was more than 25 per cent higher in October and November than for the same period last year. Consumption has not decreased since the council announced it would bring in water restrictions early when Rocky Creek Dam reaches 70 per cent instead of 60 per cent.
"We need the community to respond to these extreme conditions and reduce their consumption now. We're relying on the community being aware of this situation and implementing Level 1 water restrictions for themselves as a minimum.
"While there has been an ongoing increase in the volume of water delivered by water carters, during the last month they collectively supplied around the equivalent of one day's water supply to the entire Rous network.
"We will continue to work with water carters and our constituent councils to improve access to water to reduce wait times. We expect to have two additional water fill stations installed before Christmas and only be available for non-commercial water carters. So, residents and businesses who can transport small quantities of water will be able to access these sites and not have to wait for water carters. This should also reduce the wait times for commercial water carters at the 11 other bulk filling stations."