Shellharbour City Council has responded swiftly to the water restrictions and introduced a range of water-saving measures as part of Level 2 restrictions that began 10 December 2019.
Council has requested exemptions from Sydney Water to continue watering sport fields using mains water. Sydney Water has advised that we Council continue to operate under Level 1 water restrictions until these are processed, which is anticipated to be in late January 2020.
Council’s key sites for water use have smart meters that are monitored regularly for leaks and irregular use to reduce water loss across the city.
How will Council restrict its watering?
Council is turning off water features that use town water. The water feature at the Civic Centre, which reuses most water, will remain on until the exemptions are processed. Use of reticulated drinking water has been cut back in outdoor uses. Council is making the most of water captured and stored in stormwater ponds.
Limited access is available to stored water sources including Myimbar. Priority for this water is high value assets such as trees and high use areas. Watering of gardens and street trees is primarily through trailer-mounted tanks filled from a stormwater storage previously filled from residential water runoff near Flinders.
The Links golf course at Shell Cove has for some time utilised on-site storm water storage to irrigate the golf course, gardens and landscape areas. Mower heights are being raised to reduce plant stress. Rainwater storage at Council’s works depot is being used for wash down of vehicles
How will this affect sportsgrounds, fields, gardens?
Council will attempt to minimise affects on sports fields, fields and gardens and to that end, Council staff, with the community, are working to get the most out of Shellharbour City playing and reserve surfaces. Council will restrict watering of reserves, sports fields and other gardens.
Sports field irrigation systems are remotely monitored and use has been reduced. Cricket wickets are receiving minimal water to assist club volunteers to maintain grass cover. There is also a focus on the best time to water, either early in the morning or at night. Collaboration between Council and clubs includes consideration of rotating areas and other options to avoid overuse.
Are council staff checking public bathrooms and taps?
Water loss, such as leaks, are being identified and addressed. Routine cleaning and lock up procedures include steps to check toilets, public taps and showers for leaks. Consideration of spring-loaded options are being implemented to prevent water wastage, where required.
Council is also reviewing accessibility to taps to reduce water loss and will be installing spring loaded taps in some high use locations. Locks will also be placed on public taps in several locations. Council is working with Sydney Water to install signage in these locations to help inform the community of these measures.
Is there any consideration to close off public bathrooms etc?
No, public amenities will remain available for use. Council will continue to look for opportunities to reduce water use of toilets while ensuring cleanliness.