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.
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“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.