Orange City Council is urging local residents to continue to do all they can during the holiday period to save water, to make Orange’s water supplies last as long as possible.
The Council has decided not to move to Level 5A restrictions before Christmas because of the way the community has embraced Level 5.
Releasing the city’s latest water use figures, Orange Mayor Reg Kidd thanked residents for their efforts so far, but warned of potentially tough times ahead.
“The people of Orange are responding brilliantly to the Level 5 water restrictions,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “With the very hot weather, the temptation is there to use more water.”
“This week our consumption is up from 147 to 150 litres per person per day. But when you compare that to the figure this time last year which was over 200, you can see how well the people of Orange are responding to this water crisis.”
“We’re meeting our water use targets and that’s what’s behind the decision not to go to the old Level 5A restrictions at this time. The amount of water we’d save by the switch isn’t significant, especially when we’re already meeting the Level 5A target.
“At this time of year, people are thinking about Christmas and a holiday break. It’s not going to be an effective time for them to get their heads around a new slightly different set of restrictions.”
Orange City Council CEO David Waddell said the council is continuing to work hard on water management.
“This water crisis continues to be front-and-centre for council staff,” David Waddell said. “On the demand side the community is doing well, but we’re continuing to work on the supply side as well, to do all we can to push forward the day when we could run out of water.”
“We’ve got a number of irons in the fire to access additional water sources. Projects like the Orange to Cowra pipeline, the proposed new wetland and weirs for the Blackmans Creek stormwater harvesting system and pipelines that will let us manage storage better and bring new water into the system.
“We’ve asked NSW Government authorities to change the trigger point when we can pump from the Macquarie River and we’re optimistic, because Orange is listed in the government’s new Critical Needs legislation, that there’ll be a result on that front soon.
“The long-term forecasts don’t mention rain over the holiday period, so the community of Orange should come back from the holiday break expecting tougher restrictions to come into force.
“As a community we’ve never been beyond Level 5 before, even during the last drought. The closer we got to moving beyond Level 5 the more it became clear we had to review the details of all water restrictions.
“We’re working towards an announcement of those details early in the new year, to give people time to prepare, but residents can expect even tighter restrictions if there’s no rain.”