Water Tap

Recent rain not enough to ease Tweed water restrictions

RESIDENTS in the Tweed are being warned the current downpours have not been enough to ease the region’s current water situation and Level 2 water restrictions are still in place.

Tweed Shire Council has confirmed on Friday that Level 3 water restrictions are just weeks away, despite the recent rain.

More than 25mm of rain has fallen in parts of the Tweed catchment over the past five days. However, most places have seen less than that.

The rain has made no difference to water levels in either the Tweed River or Clarrie Hall Dam.

“Our dam has dropped to 68.8 per cent and is still falling nearly two per cent a week,” Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham said.

“While the recent rain provided some relief on the coast and for thirsty lawns, it has not eased our current water situation nor slowed the escalation of water restrictions to Level 3 on Monday 3 February.

“History tells us we need at least 150mm to 200mm of steady rain in the catchment over a few days to get any water into the dam.

“To lift water restrictions, we need in the order of 700-900mm over a few months – and the outlook for that remains poor.”

Without significant rain in the catchment, the Tweed will go to Level 3 water restrictions on Monday 3 February and Level 4 restrictions on Friday 28 February.

“The last time Level 4 restrictions were in place in the Tweed was 2002-2003. Then, we received 930mm of rain in the catchment from February 2003 to May 2003 allowing us to lift restrictions. We need that sort of rain again in 2020.”

The Tweed Shire covers an area of 1303 square kilometres. The Clarrie Hall Dam catchment is 60 square kilometres and 25 kilometres from the coast.

“Rainfall patterns are significantly different in the dam and river catchments than on the coast, which receives frequent coastal showers.”

Residential water use equates to 62 per cent of all demand for water from the Tweed town supply.

“While we cannot provide real-time water consumption figures because of the lead time on meter reading, our daily production figures out of Bray Park Water Treatment Plant suggest we are using 184 litres per person per day against a target of 144 litres per person per day under Level 2 restrictions,” he said.

“While this data suggests residents are not heeding the call to save water now, we acknowledge this figure may be inflated due to the recent influx of holiday makers.

“I again urge all residents and businesses to fully support water restrictions now to make our limited water supply last as long as possible.”

Information on what’s ok and what’s not under Level 3 and Level 4 water restrictions is now available on Council’s website at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/savewaternow

Tweed truck crash causing delays on M1

Motorists in the Tweed are being urged to give themselves extra time with a truck crash on the M1 at Chinderah causing delays.

The accident happened just before 5am just past Tweed Coast Rd.

One northbound lane is currently closed.

Emergency services remain on the scene but haven’t given an indication when the crash might be cleared.

Delays are back to the heavy vehicle inspection bay.

Image: Google Maps @ 6.25am



Tap Water Glass

Tweed Residents urged to get back on track with water saving efforts

Tweed Council is urging residents to ‘re-focus’ on saving water, after a bit of a blow out over the festive season.

In the lead up to Christmas, the community was responding well to Level 2 water restrictions, though since then consumption has begun rising again.

Anthony Burnham from the Water and Wastewater says at this rate, Level 3 restrictions will be in place in early February, and the most severe Level 4 restrictions would be in place by the end of February.

“This timeline strongly demonstrates the very serious situation the Tweed faces and should prompt everyone to heed our call to action and save water now.

“We need to get back on track quickly as we cannot afford higher levels of water use as we only have one small dam supplying the entire community. Currently Clarrie Hall Dam is at 70.8 per cent capacity and falling nearly two per cent a week,” Mr Burnham said.

Mr Burnham says Council will now ramp up compliance and enforcement actions, while continuing to promote and inform the community on what water uses were banned or limited.

“If anyone breaches the current water restrictions, they can expect a polite notice in their letterbox once.

“Any further breaches, they can expect a fine of $220 every time,” he said.

Going forward, the Bureau of Meteorology has a pretty dismal forecast, with just a 35 to 40 per cent chance of receiving median rainfall or above from February to March – and only a 50 per cent chance of getting just 70 per cent of that amount.

While the temperature forecast isn’t much better, with the bureau predicting an 80 per cent chance of higher than median temperatures.

“These statistics and forecasts are evidence that the Tweed is in the grips of a prolonged and serious drought,” Mr Burnham said.

“While we did receive 59mm in the catchment on Christmas Eve which allowed us to stop releasing water from the dam for three days, we are again releasing water every day to meet demand and the dam level is continuing to fall,” he said.

To find out how to save water and what the water restrictions mean for you, click here.

Water Tap

Level two water restrictions now in place on the Tweed

Tweed residents are now being urged to save 50 litres per person per day as water restrictions begin in the region.

Level two water restrictions are now in place, while just further south in Tyalgum, level four water restrictions are in place.

In the Tweed region, residents currently use approximately 194 litres of water per person per day.

Under the water restrictions, it’s hoped that will be brought down to the target of 144 litres per day.

It comes after a year of dismal rain and storms, with the lowest rainfall on record at just 632 millimetres for Murwillumbah.

Tweed Council reports the Clarrie Hall Dam is dropping by nearly two percent a week, which is much faster than expected.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts below average rainfall for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 for the Northern Rivers region.

Tweed Council is advising residents to try not use any water outdoors, check for leaks and dripping taps, ensure the rainwater tank is only being maintained at the low level and not filled to the top by the town water supply.

Other recommendations include cutting shower times to under four minutes, and doing three loads less of washing a week (for families), and making sure each load is full.

Beach showers will also be turned off by the end of the week.

For more information and water saving tips, click here.

Water Tap

Thieves steal 25,000L drinking water as Tweed goes into water restrictions

Tweed Council have called in police to investigate a massive water theft, just as the region goes into level two water restrictions.

It’s understood a tanker and a ute were caught on CCTV footage ‘helping themselves’ to drinking water in Murwillumbah on Monday night between 8.00pm and 9.00pm.

Council reported to police that the thieves stole around 25,000 litres of drinking water, which was captured on CCTV footage.

The footage apparently also identifies the vehicles, and has been provided to police as evidence.

It comes just as the Tweed region prepares to go into level two water restrictions, where residents will be asked to each save 50 litres of water a day.

Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green says the people operating the commercial truck and ute can expect a visit from police.

“The theft of a very large volume of drinking water is a criminal act and we will be seeking to prosecute the offenders.

“The Tweed goes on to Level 2 restrictions from tomorrow when we will be asking every resident to save 50 litres of water every day, so we certainly will not tolerate any theft of this precious resource,” said Mr Green.

For more information about the Tweed’s water restrictions, click here.