Severe water restrictions for most MidCoast areas

Published on 19 November 2019

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Severe (Level 4) water restrictions will be introduced across most of the MidCoast Council region from next Monday 25 November, banning all outdoor water use and restricting business water use.

All MidCoast region town water supplies move to Severe Level 4 restrictions except for the Hawks Nest / Tea Gardens area, which remains on Very High (Level 3) restrictions. 

Severe (Level 4) restrictions ban all outdoor water use. Residents can only use recycled, grey or rain water on gardens – there is a total ban on sprinklers or garden irrigation systems. No car or boat washing is permitted, and swimming pool top-ups are also banned.

Collect grey water by placing buckets in your shower, collecting your washing machine water or using kitchen sink water – and use this water on garden plants. If you are washing baby nappies or other soiled clothing, do not collect and reuse that water.

Businesses across the MidCoast are now required to limit any process water to the minimum necessary to maintain basic production. Outside use of water by businesses is not permitted without an exemption. Holiday accommodation providers will be provided with information, so visitors are aware of the restrictions. Council will also work with affected businesses to mitigate the impacts of the restrictions.

MidCoast Council is also severely limiting water use. From Monday, Council will only water sports fields and parks that are serviced by recycled or bore water. Beach showers along with water at boat ramps and fish cleaning tables will be turned off. Our road crews are already using recycled water for road production purposes.

Council's Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Rob Scott said "we are now facing an unprecedented water shortage in the history of our water supply service. This is the first time we have required Severe (level 4) restrictions.

“Last week was extremely demanding on our community, our staff, their families and our emergency services. It was also demanding upon our water supplies with usage increasing by nearly 30%. The average usage we recorded was over 27 million litres per day. Under restrictions, we had been averaging just over 20 million litres per day previously.

It is now looking likely that some of our smaller water supplies, such as Gloucester, will enter emergency restrictions. This has never occurred before in our region. We are making plans just in case emergency supplies need to be accessed. This would involve transporting water by road or rail to Gloucester.

"We are developing options for short term emergency supply of water including getting as much as possible out of our current systems. We will be expanding the Nabiac borefield, so that we can increase the amount of water from that source. We are also considering another option to install a temporary desalination plant on the Manning to treat brackish water so it can be used to supplement our existing supply.

“What we need now, apart from some good rainfall to break this horrific drought, is for everyone to assist in conserving water. A litre of water saved is a litre for tomorrow. We have seen our community really pull together during the bushfires, and now we need the same effort to conserve water.

“With the longer term forecast suggesting we could receive some rain in the coming weeks, please continue to observe restrictions until we advise otherwise. It is going to take major rainfall events to change our situation.”

To download fact sheets for Level 3 and 4 and find out more about water restrictions, head to www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/waterrestrictions. There’s also lots of information to help households save water, at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Water-Services/Managing-Water-Use.