The continued hot and dry weather throughout November has forced Kempsey Shire Council to move to Level 3 Water Restrictions as of Monday 2 December.
Under Level 3 there are significant restrictions on water usage around the home.
Gardens and lawns can only be watered using handheld hoses for a maximum of 10 minutes every second day between 4pm and 9am using the ‘odds and evens’ system. No sprinklers or soaker hoses can be used.
Residents are advised to use buckets and trigger hose rinsing for washing cars, boats and trailers, limited to once a week.
The outdoor cleaning of windows, walls, roofs, gutters, driveways and paved areas is banned, unless required as a result of an accident, emergency or health hazard.
Topping up of swimming pools is allowed by hand-held hose for a maximum of 10 minutes between 4pm and 9am on allocated ‘odds and evens’ days.
Council’s Director Infrastructure Operations, Robert Fish, said water levels in Steuart McIntyre Dam had fallen to 68 per cent throughout November.
“Unfortunately, the impact of the winds, dry weather and some increased usage of potable water by residents in preparing homes and property during the bushfire emergency has seen a dramatic drop in our water storage,” he said.
“Level 3 restrictions mean we all have to make a much more conscious effort to use not unnecessary water from the tap.”
These restrictions apply across the Shire and include the Kempsey Lower Macleay area and water supply schemes in South West Rocks, Hat Head, Crescent Head, Stuarts Point, Bellbrook and Willawarrin.
Under Level 3 restrictions Council will increase compliance monitoring and enforcement but continue to support the community with tips for saving water.
“For several months, we’ve been running print and radio ads and had information on our website giving advice about the simple ways to save water,” Mr Fish said.
“Short showers, recycling water from the washing machine for cleaning and use outside and fixing any leaking pipes are all important steps for everyone to take.”
Council staff will be working directly with businesses impacted by Level 3 restrictions and will continue negotiations with businesses who had exemptions in place.
“Many of our neighbouring Councils are currently on the same or higher levels of water restrictions. We are appealing to the community to be aware of the impact the drought is having and to conserve our water.”