BATHURST residents will be banned from watering their lawns and washing their car at home when extreme Level 4-5 water restrictions come into force within three months.
A report to Wednesday night's Bathurst Regional Council meeting by engineering services director Darren Sturgiss recommends Monday, October 14 as day one for the more stringent restrictions that will also limit the watering of gardens to a maximum of 30 minutes just twice a week.
Pool owners will not be allowed to top up their pool unless they can provide independent evidence it would be damaged by running low or empty, and washing of hard surfaces will only be allowed using a high-pressure, low-volume device in areas where it is needed for health and safety reasons.
The report also highlights the region's parlous water situation unless we receive significant rainfall.
Based on current usage levels and recent weather patterns, Mr Sturgiss says that Friday, July 17, 2020 - exactly one year from today - would be "Zero Day" where there would be no usable water left in Ben Chifley Dam.
But, he says, that date can be extended by either reducing demand or increasing supply.
Taking water from Winburndale Dam, which currently sits at more than 90 per cent capacity, for residential use remains a medium-term supply option but Mr Sturgiss says short-term demand solutions are needed first.
Mr Sturgiss acknowledges that the extreme restrictions could be unpopular.
"In addition to the anticipated community feedback around the filling of pools it is most likely that the watering of lawns and gardens will represent the most difficult measures for many residential property owners," the report states.
"As a result, council has proposed a staged approach to watering of gardens and added a new option by using a hose with a trigger nozzle or other water-efficient device until 29 per cent, at which point the restrictions will move to watering with a bucket or watering can only."
While council has allowed a number of exemptions to the Level 3 restrictions for residential customers who have claimed extenuating circumstances based on economic reasons - such as laying new new turf or maintaining showpiece gardens - Mr Sturgiss recommends no such exemptions under Level 4-5 restrictions.
Council will develop separate criteria to assess exemption requests from local businesses, while three projects included in council's 2019-2020 budget - the construction of two new sporting fields on Hereford Street; the reconstruction of Bathurst Sportsground; and refurbishment of fields at Proctor Park - have been deferred due to the need to conserve water.
Mr Sturgiss' report states that no fines have been issued for breaches of Level 3 restrictions, with "only a small number" of reminder letters sent to residents seen breaching the rules.
Maximum fines are $220 for individuals and $2200 if the matter is taken to court.
Have your say ...
Want more Bathurst news?
- Sign up now for our morning headlines email