BATHURST Regional Council has defended its decision to wait until mid-October to impose extreme water restrictions.
At the August ordinary meeting, resident Kevin O'Meara questioned why council was waiting given that "we're in the worst drought since Federation".
Bathurst has been on level three (high) water restrictions since November and won't be operating under level four-five (extreme) restrictions until October 14.
Council's general manager, David Sherley, said that there were several reasons why this date had been picked and, ultimately, imposing them earlier would not save any more water.
"The main and prime reason we are not on level four-five restrictions is because the council is not utilising the water out at Ben Chifley Dam at the moment to run its water supply," he said.
"The water supply is coming down the Fish River from the Blue Mountains area, so therefore to put the population on level four-five restrictions at the moment will not increase the volume held in Chifley Dam, nor will it increase the volume in Winburndale [Dam].
"October 14 was chosen to time with the finishing of school holidays and also to ensure that adequate notice was given to people in the area to know what level four-five restrictions mean."
Mr Sherley said notification was important as council would be more proactive in fining people for breaches once restrictions tighten.
Mr O'Meara asked what ratepayers would think of council's water management plans if its forecast of potentially running out of water in July, 2020 eventuated.
"I think the ratepayers will sit back and say council was wise in its decision last year (2018) when it went with water restrictions before it was required under its drought management plan and that council clearly looked at that medium to longer term process," Mr Sherley replied.
Mr Sherley stressed that, while the water situation was tough, council was forward planning as best as it could to implement projects like the Chifley pipeline.