How water restrictions work for recreation and roadworks

Barrington River is still flowing

Barrington River is still flowing

In times of drought, access to water in regional areas like Gloucester can become increasingly harder, and council-imposed water restrictions are one way to manage the water level in its storage facilities.

As Gloucester doesn't have a major water storage facility, it relies on pumping water from the Barrington River into its ageing water towers.

MidCoast Council declared moderate level one water restrictions for the entire council region on September 2 in the hope of conserving the town water supply until there is a substantial amount of rainfall.

The restrictions allows for external water use of up to an hour every second day for residential properties.

According to MidCoast Council, this level of restriction is not intended to eliminate all outdoor water use, but rather reduce waste and prepare residents for harsher restrictions should they be needed.

But there has been some concern in the community about water being used for recreation areas and roadworks, and at what stage these activities will be ceased.

In the case of the Gloucester Tennis Club, it approached council for an exemption from the restriction ahead of its annual October long weekend Gloucester Open Bronze AMT and JT competition, sanctioned by Tennis NSW.

The club stated it asked for the exemption "as a lot of water is required to ensure the courts are prepared."

Council's director of engineering and infrastructure services, Robert Scott said they worked with the club to agree on a reasonable rules for water use so that the competition could be run safely while trying to minimise water use and avoid waste as much as possible.

Two out of three of Gloucester's water towers require replacement and are unable to hold full capacity of water.

Two out of three of Gloucester's water towers require replacement and are unable to hold full capacity of water.

"They required some level of certainty, otherwise the competition would have been cancelled," Mr Scott explained.

"Considering the history behind the annual competition event and the economic benefits that additional visitors bring to the town, it was considered worthwhile supporting."

When it comes to roadworks, questions have been raised about water being used when restrictions are in place, and according to Mr Scott, it's not necessarily town water that is used.

"We generally use the closest source of water available, given it is costly to transport water long distances," he explained.

"During dry conditions, our normal sources of water for roadworks do become increasingly harder to access.

"Ultimately if access to water becomes too difficult we may need to cease routine tasks such as maintenance grading of roads.

"For the moment we haven't had to do this," Mr Scott said.

He explained that road teams have access to the town water supply for some projects, particularly when working close to residences and in urban areas.

"At this level of restrictions we can continue to use town water as a last resort where other alternatives are not available, however should the restrictions increase in severity then would no longer be able to use town water for roadworks," he stated.

Water restrictions to tighten

MidCoast Council has announced it will increase water restrictions for the council region to level 3 (very high) as of Monday, November 11 and is urging the community to get on board and comply with mandatory restrictions.

Under the new restrictions, outdoor water use will be restricted to 10 minutes every second day, using hand-held hoses before 9am or after 4pm. If your house number is an even number, water on the even days of the month; for houses with odd numbers, water on the odd days of the month, and there's no watering at all on the 31st day of any month. Topping up of swimming pools will be banned.