MidCoast Council warns water restrictions may be needed

Manning Water Coordinator, Geoff Kerr at the intake from the Manning River
Manning Water Coordinator, Geoff Kerr at the intake from the Manning River

A hot dry start to spring and increased water consumption across the Mid Coast region has prompted warnings water restrictions may be needed within the next two months if the situation doesn’t change.

The community is being asked to be mindful of their water use, in particular with the amount of water used outside, MidCoast Council’s director of water services, Brendan Guiney said.

“Water restrictions may be necessary if we don’t receive some solid rainfall in the next four weeks, so we’re asking our community to take part in our voluntary summer water saving program which aims to reduce the volume of water used outside,” Mr Guiney said.

The main message of the summer water saving program – ‘don’t spray in the middle of the day’ -  applies across the Mid Coast region and asks community members to limit outdoor water usage between the hours of 9am and 4pm.

Mr Guiney said water consumption is currently 13 per cent above the average across the Mid Coast area.

“The current hot dry weather impacts on our water supplies in two ways, the lack of rain means source supplies are not replenished and the heat often results in more water use than usual.”

MidCoast Water Services operates five water supply systems across the region covering the Manning, Great Lakes, Bulahdelah, Stroud, Gloucester and Tea Gardens areas. All supplies, other than the Tea Gardens supply which is a groundwater source, are dependent on local rivers.

The Manning scheme relies on storage in Bootawa Dam and flows in the Manning River.

“We have a constant watch on river levels as part of our management of our water supplies and are predicting river flows will be critical if we don’t get more rain over the next month.”

MidCoast Water Services is working on the construction of a $34.6 million project – the Nabiac Inland Dune Aquifer Water Supply System – to provide a second water source for the main Manning scheme. This will remove the area’s reliance on the Manning River for water during times of low river flow.

This system is expected to be commissioned by November 2018.