Without any significant rainfall in coming weeks, it is almost inevitable we will see restrictions imposed before summer, councillors were told during the October MidCoast Council meeting.
However, with the Bootawa Dam at 100 per cent full and the region's borefields virtually at capacity, restrictions are not on the immediate agenda, infrastructure and engineering services director, Rob Scott said.
He said the drought response plan adopted by council called for the implementation of level one restrictions when water wasn't available from the Manning River and when Bootawa Dam hit 90 per cent capacity.
From January to October 2023, average water usage for all schemes had generally tended to be above the median historical trend, and from October 10 water usage for all schemes this year was 12.5 per cent above 2022 and 4.7 per cent above the median of usage over the last few years, the report read.
"Water usage for all schemes over the past few months has been significantly higher than the median, due to low rainfall during this period."
"If river flows in the Manning River reach similar levels of 2019 shouldn't we have restrictions now rather than later to avoid some of the same issues," Cr Peter Epov asked.
"If council was to implement restrictions now there would be no benefits because water is available in our sources," Mr Scott said.
"But, as the river declines that situation is likely to change as we head into summer," he said.
If council was to implement restrictions now there would be no benefits because water is available in our sources.- infrastructure and engineering services director, Rob Scott
"I don't know if implementing them now would have any impact or solve any issue perceived or otherwise."
He said the record drought of 2019 followed several years of well below average rainfall.
"We will be monitoring the situation very closely with a review to providing council with advice on the best course of action to take in relation to conserving our supplies and managing our water responsibly."
Manning River flow at Killawarra had a few rises throughout January and March, however after March, the rain has significantly reduced.
Water consumption for the Crawford River - the Bulahdelah scheme - is above typical for this time of year, with approximately 150 days remaining in the on-river storage.
Water quality was generally poor.
At Tea Gardens the aquifer water levels are in the reasonable range.
Water consumption is higher than typical for this time of year.
Barrington River flows - the Gloucester scheme - had flow of 47 ML/d on October 13. there is no cease to pump for our water system on this river.
Water consumption is above the typical for this time of year.
Karuah River flows, for the Stroud scheme, had flow of 7 ML/d on October 13 October was 3.5 ML/d.
The off river storage (50 ML capacity) was 98 per cent full or equivalent to 86 days of supply.
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