Residents and businesses connected to town water are on the brink of a total outdoor water use ban following the continued dry weather. And the town’s water consumption will need to be reduced by up to 110 litres per person per day.
Walcha Council senior manager for water sewer and waste Tess Dawson said the Macdonald River is currently flowing, but it is low and looks like stopping very soon.
“When the flow stops at the site the town water is pumped from,15km out of town on the Aberbaldie Road, Level 4 water restrictions will be enforced,” Ms Dawson said.
“This means no watering of anything with town water outside of people’s homes or businesses, such as gardens or vehicles. At present water use is averaging 270 litres per person per day, but with the introduction of Level 4 restrictions, everyone will need to reduce their water use substantially. The target for Level 4 is 160-200 litres per person per day.”
Once the Macdonald River stops flowing, water in an emergency storage dam located at Muluerindie will be consumed first, and once this is empty, the final water supply will be from the Off Creek Storage Dam just south of town.
“These two dams could give us up to six months of water if everyone brings their water usage down to the lower Level 4 water restriction target of 160 litres per day,” Ms Dawson said.
“That’s around 100 litres less per person per day than the current average usage.”
Council staff will be conducting the regular quarterly meter reads in the coming weeks, and those households with high usage will be contacted by Council.
It’s time to cut back on our water use so that the water we have access to can give us the longest possible time.Tess Dawson
“This, of course, will vary depending on the number of residents living at the property, but this is a measure Council can use to manage high water usage,” Ms Dawson said.
“Council is aiming to fill the swimming pool earlier than usual while the river is still flowing. Once the pool is filled the water is recirculated during the summer season, so no further water is required to keep the pool operational.”
Ms Dawson said showers at the pool will be limited to cold water only for swimmers to rinse off.
“The truck wash bay will also be closed with Level 4 restrictions as per the Water Restriction Policy introduced in 2015,” she said.
“It’s time to cut back on our water use so that the water we have access to can give us the longest possible time. Residents in Capetown in South Africa are being forced to survive on 50 litres per person per day, with a date looming where they will completely run out of water.
“So, come on Walcha, we can cut back by 100 litres per person per day.”
- See the Capetown personal water use calculator here