With minimal rainfall forecast in coming weeks, Kempsey Shire Council is taking immediate action to safeguard water supplies by introducing Level 2 water restrictions.
These restrictions apply across the Shire and include the Kempsey Lower Macleay area and water supply schemes in South West Rocks, Hat Head, Crescent Head, Stuarts Point, Bellbrook and Willawarrin.
Council's general manager Craig Milburn said the localised rainfall over the weekend had little impact on the Macleay River flow levels which have declined at a significantly quicker rate than anticipated.
"Our water is currently supplied directly from the Sherwood borefield which is reliant on uncontrollable river water flows from the upper Macleay catchment near Armidale and Walcha," he said.
"With little rainfall in recent times and minimal amounts forecast, we need to take immediate steps to conserve water locally and implement Level 2 water restrictions.
"We are asking residents to do their bit to help to conserve water in their homes, businesses and workplaces."
If the dry weather continues it is highly likely that Level 3 water restrictions will be introduced in coming weeks.
Council has a range of legislated enforceable measures available but is appealing to the community to adhere to the Level 2 water restrictions to help manage local water usage.
Under Level 2 restrictions, gardens and lawns can only be watered using hand-held hoses for 30 minutes every second day between 4pm and 9am using the 'odds and evens' system. No sprinklers or soaker hoses can be used.
Residents are advised to use buckets and trigger hose rinsing for washing cars, boats and trailers, limited to once a week.
The outdoor cleaning of windows, walls, roofs, gutters, driveways and paved areas is banned, unless required as a result of an accident, emergency or health hazard.
Topping up of swimming pools is allowed by hand-held hose for a maximum of 30 minutes between 4pm and 9am on allocated 'odds and evens' days.
"Council will continue to monitor the river flows over next few days and will provide community updates about further restrictions, as required," Mr Milburn said.
"On a positive note, the recent cooler weather has significantly improved the water quality of Steuart McIntyre Dam which could become available as a water supply source in the near future."
Residents can help to conserve water by making some small changes in and around the home. View council's water saving tips at: www.kempsey.nsw.gov.au/tips
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