Level 2 water restrictions flagged for Northern Rivers
POOR rainfall outlook coupled with high water demand over the holiday period has prompted
water restrictions to be elevated to Level 2 effective Monday, January 20.
This applies to the council areas of Ballina (including Wardell and Meerschaum Vale), Byron
(excluding Mullumbimby), Lismore (excluding Nimbin), and Richmond Valley (excluding
Rous County Council Acting Planning Manager, Samuel Curran, met with the Regional
Drought Management Committee last week to discuss the current outlook.
Representatives from Ballina, Lismore, Byron and Richmond Valley Council agreed now is the
right time to initiate Level 2 water restrictions.
"Water consumption across the Rous supply area for November and December has been
more than 10 per cent higher than the same period in 2018. Rainfall measured at Rocky Creek
Dam (as an indicator for the region) for November and December combined was 116mm in
2018 compared to 70mm in 2019," Mr Curran said.
"Most of the Northern Rivers is in intense drought. The Bureau of Meteorology outlook is for a drier and hotter than average summer and a delayed monsoon season.
"Water use in January is traditionally high with the summer holiday season. And despite a
slight drop in demand after Level 1 water restrictions came into place, we have seen a steady
increase in consumption over the last few weeks."
Rocky Creek Dam level is currently sitting around 60 per cent dropping at a continual rate of
around 2.2 per cent per week.
Rous County Council General Manager, Phillip Rudd, said the catchment continues to be
"The catchment area of Rocky Creek Dam has not been this dry for more than 45 years," Mr
"To safeguard our drinking water supply, it is critical that we cut down on non-essential use of
water. We need to ensure that both residents and visitors to the region are aware of water
restrictions. Every drop of water saved adds up to make a huge difference."
Under Level 2 restrictions, water usage must be cut by 15 per cent within a reasonable time
and if there is no significant rainfall, the region may face Level 3 water restrictions. This drop is equivalent to 30 litres per person per day. This is equivalent to four minutes in the shower or two full toilet flushes.
The most significant non-essential use of water happens outdoors. Under Level 2 restrictions,
gardens can be watered by watering can or bucket at any time. Hand-held hoses can only be
used for 30 minutes before 9am and after 4pm, on odd or even days matching your house
number. No watering will be permitted on the 31st of the month.
Significant differences from Level 1 to Level 2 water restrictions include:
- Outdoor watering duration reduced by half. Time of day and odd/even day restrictions
- Car washing duration reduced by half. Time of day and odd/even day restrictions still
- Further restrictions on business water use including public and private pool top ups,
vehicle washing and detailing.
- Water used for dust suppression and road construction should use non-potable water
Businesses that rely on outdoor water use as part of their operations will need to contact their
local council to apply for an exemption.
Fines will apply for breaches of water restrictions - $220 for residential breaches and $550 for
businesses. To find out more information, go to your local government website or visit