Northern Rivers one dry summer away from water restrictions
This National Water Week, Rous County Council is calling for the community to shift its mindset around water use.
With a fast-growing population and a changing climate, the regional water authority is urging Northern Rivers residents to change the way they think about using water, not just in the dry season, but permanently.
Northern Rivers residents have reduced their water use by 45 per cent since the 1990s when the Council first started to encourage the responsible and sustainable use of water. The average resident now uses around 194 litres of water per day, but there’s still room to move that number down.
Rous County Council General Manager, Phillip Rudd, said it’s particularly pertinent as 97 per cent of NSW is in a state of drought and Casino faces level three water restrictions.
“The region’s residents have a commendable track record of using water sustainably, especially in dry periods. Yet we believe further efficiency is achievable. We encourage residents to aim for less than 160 litres per person per day throughout the year.
“Despite Rocky Creek Dam being relatively full, with our current and forecast consumption we’re only one dry summer away from water restrictions,” Mr Rudd said.
The dam is the region’s primary water source and is currently at 86 per cent capacity. Level one water restrictions usually start when the dam reaches 60 per cent, though this trigger level can change depending on the long-range seasonal outlook.
This year’s National Water Week theme, ‘It’s time to change the world’, aims to raise awareness of the value of water.
“Even in the Northern Rivers, water is a precious resource, not an infinite one. This means asking how we can adapt our lifestyles to make long-term changes – is it taking shorter showers, not watering our lawns? We all have an obligation to act responsibly with water.”
Rous County Council is currently investigating new sources of water for the region as part of its Future Water Strategy.
As part of its regional water saving campaign, the 160 Litre Challenge, Council encourages residents to follow its 9 Neat Ways to Save Water:
• conservatively water gardens and only before 10am and after 3pm
• use a trigger nozzle for all hoses
• take shorter showers
• install a rainwater tank
• wash cars with a bucket and on the lawn
• taps off and plugs in when washing dishes or teeth
• use recycled water or rainwater for laundry, toilets and gardens
• use water efficient appliances
• fix dripping taps.
160 litres of water is ‘this much’!
Tree planting around Rocky Creek Dam helps keep our catchment healthy.