The water wise message is flowing through the Upper Hunter Shire.
Residential water use has dropped in Aberdeen, Merriwa and Scone in the last year compared to some very high levels in the previous year.
In 2017/18 water consumption in Scone and Aberdeen rose by 23% on the previous year, and in Merriwa use rose by 29%.
Merriwa water consumption has now dropped from 326 ML in 2017/18 to 287 ML in the last year. Scone and Aberdeen 's water consumption has dropped from 2008 ML in 2017/18 to 1966 ML last year (excluding water taken from standpipes). Cassilis water use has remained fairly steady going from 15.7ML to 15.6ML.
Murrurundi which has been on Level 6 water restrictions since July 2018 is also staying close to the very low target of 188kL a day, using an average of 201kL a day.
Council expects, and hopes, water use will drop further this year with Level 1 water restrictions in place since 1 July 2019.
Council will be enforcing Level 1 water restrictions from 1 September 2019 and penalties will apply with three written warnings about breaching water restrictions, and then a $200 penalty infringement notice may be issued.
Mayor Wayne Bedggood said it is important that efforts to keep water use down are maintained, as temperatures rise.
“It is just common sense, like only watering your garden in the cool of the mornings and evenings,” he said.
“In coming years, more and more residents will have access to reticulated water systems, and that is a great thing, but we all need to be more careful in our use of a precious and increasingly scarce resource.”
Murrurundi will be drawing water from Glenbawn Dam once the water pipeline is complete. Water reticulation systems are planned for Blandford, Wingen and Parkville from that pipeline. Council are also applying for funding for Middlebrook and Gundy water supplies.
If the drought continues into the 2020/21 year, Council may need to implement further restrictions towards the end of 2020, depending on the water allocations available from Glenbawn Dam.
At the moment Glenbawn Dam has dropped below 50 per cent usable capacity and is at 49.6 per cent.
Image credit: Upper Hunter Shire Council