Pull together to manage water shortage

Published on 03 December 2019

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MidCoast residents are being asked to pull together and comply with water restrictions as MidCoast Council makes plans to further secure water supplies in case substantial rain doesn’t eventuate this summer.

“We’re working on a number of fronts to ensure we will continue to supply water to our community until normal rainfall patterns return. We want to assure everyone we will not run out of water, although we all need to observe water restrictions and save water where we can, to ensure we use less than the targets set,” said Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Rob Scott.

Currently the target for the Manning – Great Lakes supply is 17 megalitres usage per day, with the Severe (Level 4) restrictions placing a total ban on outdoor water use to achieve this.

“There is no doubt that this is the worst drought on record in our region. Water is extremely scarce right now. Our rural community is really struggling.”

As just one of the measures to safeguard the water supply, Council has completed the installation of four additional production bores on the Nabiac borefield, boosting the aquifer system’s capacity from 6 to 8 megalitres per day. This will take some of the pressure off Bootawa Dam by reducing the amount of water required to keep up with the daily usage.

The NSW Government has supported Council’s drought response plans with $1 million in funding for critical infrastructure associated with the Drought Response Project.

Expansion of the Nabiac borefield will continue over the next few months, well ahead of the original schedule of 2025. This will see a further eight bores installed by the end of February, increasing production at Nabiac to at least 12 megalitres per day with further expansion being investigated through use of a portable desalination plant.

In Gloucester, plans are in place to transport water into town should emergency level 5 restrictions be required. If the community complies with restrictions, Stroud, Bulahdelah and Tea Gardens / Hawks Nest will have enough water to get through summer. 

Mr Scott also called on the community to ensure they go to Council’s website for the correct information on water restrictions and long term water security plans rather than rely on rumours.

“Unsubstantiated rumours that some MidCoast supplies will run out of water or that town water supplies would be cut off to dairy farmers on Oxley Island, are totally false and are damaging to community wellbeing. We’re extremely disappointed that some local social media pages are scare-mongering and unnecessarily causing panic amongst the community.”

Mr Scott said MidCoast Council will work with dairy farmers reliant on town water supplies to investigate alternative water supplies and there are no plans to stop providing water to livestock.

“We want to reassure our community that we are managing the water supply, we have plans in place to ensure our community will continue to receive water, prioritising public health, safety and keeping animals alive.”

“What we really need is for everyone to get on board with water restrictions – that means no outdoor water use for most of the MidCoast, and being aware of lowering water use indoors too,” added Mr Scott.

“If we can lower our daily usage to below 17 megalitres a day, the Manning – Great Lakes supply will last into next year without any further rainfall.

“If we all work together and comply with severe water restrictions, our modelling shows that along with emergency provisions, there will be enough water to get by.”

Visit the water restrictions page for full information and to see frequently asked questions. Visit the water tracker page to see the daily water usage figures for each supply in the MidCoast region.