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Agile response to water restrictions adopted

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Agile response to water restrictions adopted

5 February 2020

The region will be looking to the skies this weekend to extinguish the flames that still burn in our landscape and to top up our depleted water reserves.

Bega Valley Shire Council has today taken action to support the ongoing management of water supplies and quality with this week’s weather forecast in mind.

Councillors have delegated responsibility for the implementation of possible water restrictions to the General Manager, who is now able to adapt a response based on the amount of rain that falls in the coming days.

The consideration of water restrictions is strongly guided by the Drought Management Action Plans (DMAP) for each of our four water supply systems.

Trigger levels for considering water restrictions have been reached for the Bemboka and Brogo-Bermagui water supply systems and are anticipated to be reached for the Tantawanglo-Kiah water supply system and Bega-Tathra water supply system over the next two months, assuming zero dam inflows or groundwater recharge in the meantime.

Council’s Director of Assets and Operations, Anthony McMahon, says the resolution passed today allows for a more agile approach in light of the forecast weather.

“As we all know we are in a position where we are experiencing widespread low storage levels, ongoing drought and bushfires, all of which impact on water supply and quality,” Mr McMahon says.

“This weekend’s predicated rain could start to turn that situation around, we may not need to introduce water restrictions based on the amount of rain being forecast.

“However, we may need to introduced short-term restrictions in order deal with water quality issues.

“We have measures in place to deal with sediment runoff in our catchments but given recent bushfires and the amount of rain possible, those contingencies might be challenged.

“We may need to impose restrictions while we stabilise the quality of our water supplies which could necessitate carting water for a period of time that is both costly and comes with limitations on the volumes we are able to cart.

 “The General Manager has now been delegated to implement decisions on water restrictions until current drought conditions ease, taking advice from our expert water team,” Mr McMahon says.

If Level 1 water restrictions are implemented the community will be informed via Council’s website and social media platforms as well as local media channels.

Level 1 water restrictions include:

  • Level 1 water restrictions allow only one hand-held hose to be used per property between 6.00am to 8.00am and between 6.00pm to 8.00pm.
  • The use of fixed sprinklers and unattended hoses is not permitted, nor is watering paved areas.
  • Vehicles and boats should be washed on lawns using buckets. A hose may be used for a final rinse.
  • Drip irrigation and micro-sprays may only be used if fixed to a single tap per property and only in lieu of a hand-held hose.

Water Wise measures apply permanently across the Shire and we greatly appreciate the efforts people make to save water.

Water Wise tips and resources are available on Council’s website and include:

  • Limit watering of gardens to times when evaporation is lowest – night, early morning and early evening.
  • Wash vehicles and boats on lawns wherever possible using buckets.

Residents with concerns or questions about water use can contact Council on (02) 6499 2222.

Council’s Drought Management Action Plans are available at: www.begavalley.nsw.gov.aw/Water.

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