WITH level five water restrictions described as "an out of control wrecking ball through our local Bathurst economy", it has never been more important to obey the rules.
Bathurst is currently on level four (extreme) water restrictions, but faces the prospect of tighter restrictions in months, possibly weeks.
Chifley Dam was at 28.5 per cent capacity as of Tuesday and, if it drops to 25 per cent, that will trigger level five restrictions.
Councillor Jess Jennings has warned that, if the dam falls that far, the economic impact will be huge and include substantial job losses.
"Level five, and especially level six water restrictions, are an out of control wrecking ball through our local Bathurst economy, with level five restrictions causing over 800 full-time jobs to be lost, household income to drop by over $60 million, and the total hit to the Bathurst economy being over $180 million per annum compared to unrestricted water use," he said.
If the conditions did not improve and the dam dropped to 15 per cent, Bathurst would be in "economic Armageddon".
Cr Jennings said more than 3,500 full-time jobs would be lost, household income would drop by over $250 million, and the total hit to the local economy would be in excess of $650 million per annum compared to unrestricted water use.
ALSO MAKING NEWS: Hoses to be banned under new Bathurst water restrictions
Cr Jennings said, in his personal opinion, the job losses would be a result of "water restrictions biting on the manufacturing sector for Bathurst".
"Anyone who is affected by water restrictions in their input processes starts to take a hit from level five and severely from level six," he said.
"I would say it's heavily around manufacturing, but also having said that, agriculture is pretty massive as well because of the 22.5 per cent cease to pump rule.
"When that kicks in, then you've got another agriculture-based, farm product-based economic ripple effect."
Under the current restrictions, businesses have been able to operate largely as normal, but that won't be the case if level five restrictions are implemented.
Cr Jennings said they will go from unrestricted water use to a 25 per cent reduction of water use, while level six would be a 50 per cent reduction.
"[Council is] tightening everything on gardens, parks, football fields, public areas and that type of stuff, but when you start getting into the actual economic drivers being deprived of water and the business houses, that's when it starts having an economic impact," he said.
He said council staff are doing "as much as humanly possible" to keep Bathurst out of level five and six water restrictions, including investing in and trying to progress stormwater harvesting.
Residents need to do their part by diligently following the city's water restrictions, information on which can be found on council's website.