BATHURST Regional Council is continuing negotiations with the state government over ways to better drought-proof the city as the drought crisis continues.
Council has confirmed that extreme Level 4-5 water restrictions will come into effect on Monday, October 14 and has indicated a willingness to fine residents for repeated breaches.
The new restrictions will ban the watering of lawns and restrict the watering of gardens to just 30 minutes twice a week, while residents will also be banned from washing their cars at home.
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Pool owners wishing to top up their pool will need to provide council with independent advice confirming the pool would be damaged if it was left to run low.
Continued dry times through autumn and winter have seen the water level at Ben Chifley Dam fall below 45 per cent, its lowest winter mark on record.
Council's engineering staff have identified July 17, 2020 as "zero day" for the dam - the point where there will be no usable water remaining - based on current usage and weather patterns.
Tighter water restrictions will provide some breathing space and council is speaking with irrigators along the Fish, Campbell and Macquarie rivers about reducing their water use.
Mr Sturgiss said the state government was aware of the urgent need to find a solution but stressed that Bathurst was "somewhat more fortunate than a number of other places within the state".
Raising the dam wall was one option being considered to drought-proof the region.
A pipeline to Bathurst from Ben Chifley Dam was another option while a pipeline to the region from the massive Wyangala Dam was also on the drawing board.
"Council and the state government are looking at a raft of solutions in the future, one of which is the raising of the dam wall," Mr Sturgiss said.
"We can't put a firm benefit-cost ratio to what that would cost and the benefits it would provide given that we don't have a detailed design for that work.
"... We don't have in enough, in terms of data, to support the final design to provide any surety of cost.
Council and the state government are looking at a raft of solutions in the future, one of which is the raising of the dam wall.Engineering services director Darren Sturgiss
"What the state government and council are working towards is a water model across the Bathurst catchment to better address the information we don't have, such as impact of irrigation, the impact of potential climate change in the future and Bathurst's increased water usage into the future.
"So there's quite a lot of work to be done to confirm a priority order as to where raising the dam wall might fit in a range of regional priorities."