THE news that extreme water restrictions start this month sends a cold shiver up the spine of keen gardeners like me.
I've been here for 17 years now (yeah, I know, I'm just a blow-in) and reckon Bathurst is a great place to live for many reasons, one of them being that thus far we have not had water rationing.
So what has caused this? We're in drought, sure, and climate change has something to do with that, but any other reasons?
Where is the water going to come from for all the new houses around Bathurst?
OTHER RECENT ECO NEWS COLUMNS:
I met with Bathurst councillor John Fry, who is a mine of information on water management. He told me how Bathurst's newer estates are designed for water efficiency and re-use.
Without impeding progress, this ensures the impact on our precious water supplies is as low as possible.
The wall at Chifley Dam (Bathurst's principal water supply) was raised in 2002, and that's why we've avoided rationing until now.
I heard a rumour that Chifley Dam's wall was to be raised again, but, alas, it is just that - a rumour.
John Fry advocates for smaller weirs to be built, some to capture and re-use some of the 8.7 megalitres per day fed back into the Macquarie River from the wastewater treatment plant.
(For comparison, we use 11.5 megalitres per day from the dam.)
All the towns along the river use the waste water of towns upstream. So why not use some of our own? The river system is a very efficient filtration device.
Things are not going to get better short-term. This year the air over the Antarctic experienced "sudden stratospheric warming" where the air 30 kilometres over the South Pole warms by up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Like the better known El Nino effect, it is a predictor of changes in the weather, and in this case for a hot, dry summer in Australia.
I remember in the dim and distant past there was a rebate for installing home rainwater tanks. These make the best use of what rain we do get. There are financing issues, but they're not insurmountable.
So how about it, Bathurst Regional Council? It's another small solution to our water woes.