Council has activated its Drought Management Plans for level 1 water restrictions for the city of Armidale, and for Guyra residents level 2.
The recent Bureau of Meteorology forecast of below average rainfall and the extremely dry catchments means there is little prospect of getting respite, at least in the short term.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Cr Simon Murray said we all need to do more to save water, to secure our water for the future.
“There is no doubt our region is experiencing longer and more frequent droughts and extreme weather events,” said Cr Murray.
“We can longer take water for granted, and we need to catch-up with the rest of Australia on implementing water conservation in our everyday lives, whether we are in water restrictions or not; water is a valuable resource, and we must not waste it.”
For Armidale residents, level 1 water restrictions mean:
- Sprinklers and fixed hoses can only be used for two hours a day and not during the heat of the day, between 10am and 5pm
- Hand held hoses with trigger nozzles, drip irrigation for lawns and gardens cannot be used during the heat of the day, between 10am and 5pm
- Washing vehicles with a hose cannot be used during the heat of the day, between 10am and 5pm
- Washing down surfaces with a high pressure cleaner is OK
- Washing down hard surfaces with a hand held hose is not allowed
- Buckets and cans are OK
- Filling private swimming pools is only allowed with Council permission, up to 5,000 litres
- Topping up swimming pools. Yes.
For Guyra residents, level 2 water restrictions mean:
- No sprinklers or fixed hoses
- Hand held hoses, drip irrigation for lawns and gardens can only be used for two hours and not during the heat of the day, 10am – 5pm
- Buckets and cans – not during the heat of the day, 10am – 5pm
- No washing of vehicles with a hand held hose
- Washing down hard surfaces – high pressure cleaner only. Yes.
- Washing down hard surfaces – hand held hose. No.
- Filling private swimming pool is only allowed with Council permission, up to 5,000 litres
- Topping up swimming pools. Yes.
Council would like to encourage residents to go beyond the restrictions and implement water conservation measures more broadly around the home at all times.
About 40 percent of all water consumed in the home is used in the bathroom. 3-star rated showerheads use no more than 9 litres of water per minute, while old style showerheads use up to 20 litres per minute. If you shower for six minutes, a water efficient showerhead can save up to 50 litres of water for each shower, or up to 20,000 litres of water per person per year. So take shorter showers to save water and money!
If you water your garden, avoid the heat of the day, when a high percentage of water is lost through evaporation. Use sprinklers or hoses in the early morning or evening.
Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast. If there’s rain in the forecast, let the rain do your watering for you. Less frequent watering forces roots down to find water, making the plants less reliant on surface water and better able to stand hot, dry days. Many plants are much tougher than you think. People overestimate how much water their lawn needs. Grass is shallow rooted and rarely extends more than 25 mm into the soil. Put more water than this on your soil, and it’s not helping your lawn or your water bill. Mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70 percent. Mulch is like a blanket on the soil. It keeps the soil cool, and it reduces evaporation because the soil is not exposed to dry air and drying winds.
Fifteen – 20 percent of all water consumed in the home is used in the laundry. Major appliances and tapware products carry labels according to their water efficiency. Look out for the WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) label – this is displayed on the product or a swing tag.
Water can be wasted around the home due to leaking pipes and dripping taps. Check for leaks and take action now!