Level 2 water restrictions start today despite rainfall
THE heavy rainfall over the weekend was a welcome relief to many but residents are being warned to not become complacent as level 2 water restrictions start today.
As the gardens and riverbeds start to look a bit healthier, Ballina Airport got 121mm of rainfall between 9am on Friday and 9am on Sunday, while Lismore received 167mm of rain and 123mm fell at Casino.
But despite the decent amount of rainfall since Friday night, Rous County Council is going ahead with enacting Level 2 water restrictions from today.
The decision to introduce the restrictions comes after poor rainfall over the majority of December and January prompted stricter conditions to be put in place in order to preserve water for months to come.
The restrictions apply to the council areas of Ballina (including Wardell and Meerschaum Vale), Byron (excluding Mullumbimby), Lismore (excluding Nimbin), and Richmond Valley (excluding Casino).
A Rous County Council spokesman said the recent rainfall has made a big impact on the levels at Rocky Creek dam, but residents still needed to be mindful with their water consumption.
"We will still be going ahead with the restrictions," he said.
"The decision was made by the drought management committee about two weeks ago.
"This is based on medium term outlooks and our demand at that time was significantly above our target demand.
"We're extremely grateful for the rain we've had at Rocky Creek Dam, we've had more than 150mm fall in the dam.
"That's increased the dam level from 60 per cent up to 67 per cent, which is still below our level one restrictions level.
"However, all the wet weather has significantly reduced the demand on our network."
With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting more rainfall over the coming days, Rous City Council will continue to monitor water levels.
"We will need to see more follow up rain, the dam is still below the point we have level 1 restrictions," the council spokesman said
"We may be able to lighten or lift the restrictions, but we need to see follow up rain, and won't reduce the restrictions until we see a sustained increase."
Should residents fail to follow the level 2 restrictions, they could face up to $220 fines for residential breaches and $550 for businesses.
While some areas of the Northern Rivers have already been dealing with water restrictions, Ballina Shire Council Water and Wastewater Manager Bridget Walker said it would be unlikely for staff to issue fines unless there was proper detail highlighting the improper water usage.
"As with any compliance actions taken by Council, appropriate evidence needs to be collected and reviewed before action is taken, and this would include consulting with the complainant," Ms Walker said.
"Concerned residents who have identified their neighbours are misusing water can contact council.
"Residents need to include the property address and details about the misuse of water."
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
For more information, visit www.rous.nsw.gov.au/waterrestrictions or contact your local council.