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Tighter water restrictions to start next week

By November 23, 2018October 18th, 2019News, Stormwater Harvesting, Water, Wetlands

Level three water restrictions are in place from Saturday, December 1.

Orange City Council’s water storage level is expected to hit 50 per cent next week. It is Council policy that the city moves to level three restrictions when the combined storage of Suma Park and Spring Creek Dams reaches at the half way point of storage capacity.

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd encouraged residents to work together to save water and share any water saving tips. For example, Cr Kidd said there were more efficient ways to water a garden during dry times, than a sprinkler or a hand held hose.

“Instead of using sprinklers or hand-held hoses residents can save water and save money by using micro-sprays, drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses,” Cr Kidd said.

“Mulch is also a great way to get the most out of watering and it’s good at keeping the weeds at bay.”

Given the 15 months to September this year, had been the driest on record for Orange and the central west, it was unsurprising the storage levels were expected to drop to 50 per cent, Cr Kidd said.

The combined storage level is 50.4 per cent. This includes Suma Park Dam and Spring Creek Dam.

Somerset wetlands in Orange

STORM: The water level of Orange’s wetlands, is boosted by storms, even when there’s no run-off from paddocks into local creeks.

“We’ve done very well so far because of the inflows from the Macquarie to Orange Pipeline and the storm water harvesting schemes,” he said.

“It’s likely we would have introduced tighter water restrictions at least two months ago without these alternative water supply systems.

“I’m hoping we get a few good summer storms so we can further take advantage of these two water supply systems in the coming weeks and help maintain our supply.”

That happened on Wednesday night this week when patchy storms dropped around 25 mm of rain around Orange.

Because of parched local paddocks, there was no run-off at all from the storms from creeks into Suma Park dam.

However it’s a different story with Orange’s stormwater harvesting.

The council’s water team was able to harvest a one-off batch of around 28 mega litres of water from the Blackmans Swamp Creek stormwater harvesting system to add to local water storage.

On top of that the council will be able to harvest a further 21 megalitres from the Ploughmans Creek system into the stormwater holding dam over the coming week, as a result of the storm.

It’s expected that 6 megalitres a day of treated stormwater will start to be transferred into Suma Park dam and will this will continue for about a month given current stormwater reserves.

“The Orange community is currently using about 16 megalitres a day, so this 6 meg a day flow will slow down the gradual decline in our storage levels.”

New Water Restrictions

One of the key differences between level two and level three water restrictions is that the use of sprinklers and hand-held hoses is not permitted.

Level 3 Water Restrictions

Gardens & Lawns

Garden beds, trees, shrubs and lawns may be watered between 6am-9am and between 6pm–9pm every second day under the odds and evens system using microsprays, drip systems and soaker hoses only. The use of hand held hoses and garden sprinklers is not permitted.
Watering of new turf is allowed for one week after laying, then level 3 restrictions will apply.

Garden Water Features

Garden water features can be filled and topped up.

Cars and other vehicles

Washing vehicles at home is allowed on any day between 9 am and 12 noon. Vehicles must be washed on the lawn using only a bucket.

Swimming pools and outside spas

The first fill of a pool and topping up of swimming pools and external spas is allowed any day between 7am-9am and between 6pm-8pm provided pool covers are used.

Bore water, rainwater and water from other sources

Homeowners are encouraged to use all water conservatively, however the restrictions do not apply to rainwater and bore water. If the water source (e.g. a household tank) is topped up from Council’s water supply system, these level 3 restrictions do apply.

Level 3 restrictions also apply to the purple pipe (Dual Water) system where connected.

In some circumstances, some businesses or residents can ask to be exempt from the current Water Restrictions. 

Advice on how to reduce your water use and your water bill can be found at Smart Water Advice.



Orange moves from Level 4 to Level 5 restrictions (October 2019)

Orange delays move to Level 5 (July 2019)

Level 4 water restrictions begin in Orange  (April 2019)




  • Margaret says:

    In one place you say you can water your lawn – and in another you say you can only water new turf for one week after laying – then level 3 restrictions apply – which says you can water your lawn between 6 and 9. A bit ambiguous don’t you think. So can I water my new turf or not.
    By the way, I don’t expect you to reply to this email.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question. We always aim to reply to online queries, as a question asked by one person is likely to be topic more people will want to know about.
      There may be some confusion because Level Two water restrictions are still in place and there’s info about them on line. We’ve also put info about the Level 3 restriction which are due to start on 1 December.
      Under Level 2 restrictions, which are currently in place, you can use a lawn sprinkler or a hand held hose to water new lawn (under the odds and even date system, and within the appropriate hours).
      Once Level 3 restrictions begin, those rules change.
      Level 3 includes an understanding that new turf needs extra water to get established, so the tighter rules don’t start until after the first week of the turf being installed on the ground. After that, without sprinklers or hand held hoses, the options for a new lawn include soaker hoses or micro-sprays.

  • Cyril Smith says:

    What is the difference in water usage between using a soaker hose or a hand held hose?
    I know it is more enjoyable, mentally satisfying, using a hand held hose.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question, and yes, having a hose in your hand is a good excuse to wander in the garden at the end of the day… It’s hard to be conclusive, because it depends on the size of your hose and the pressure of the water, but generally the fine sprays from a soaker hose will use less water than the amount that comes from the end of a hose. The move to a soaker or weeper hose is also about encouraging residents to think about putting water where it’s most needed. For example, a soaker hose placed on a garden bed and covered with mulch will focus the available water on a garden rather than a lawn.

  • elisha says:

    what if you have a tank can you use your hose at anytime ??

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question. Water restrictions don’t apply to rainwater tanks. You can use that water as you like, including with a hose, once Level Three restrictions begin.
      Some home water tanks, are connected to a house’s internal plumbing and so they have an system automatic system to top up the tank with potable town water if the tank ran low.
      If you were using town water, then water restrictions would apply.

  • Sarah Smith says:

    It’s really helpful to learn that while most of us will need to conserve our water, those whose houses are supplied with rainwater and bore water don’t need to be as reserved. This makes me want to find a bore water specialist who can help convert my house’s water supply. We have a large family and would rather not place them on water restrictions.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right that the water restrictions can’t apply to rain water or ground water. It’s fair to say though, that the overall intention of water restrictions is to encourage residents to do the best they can to use less water, where ever it comes from. Rain water tanks can be a very useful resource and are worth exploring. It’s worth remembering that the NSW Government requires that all new water bores are licensed. Here’s some info about that.

  • Ian Mitchell says:

    When are you going to update your Web Sight to show new Water Restrictions.
    What are they and when do they commence.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question. It looks like you happened on a news post from last year, when Orange moved to Level 3 restrictions. Details of the ‘new’ Level 4 restrictions have been on the website since earlier this week. They come into effect from Saturday 6 April. Details can be found on this page

  • Sarah Smith says:

    Your information that the new water restrictions will impact garden watering and swimming pools is very helpful. Since my husband and I use our garden to supplement our food, I think it would be best to invest in a water tank. That way, we can continue our little vegetable patch without drawing too much on the city’s resources.

  • James Wilkinson says:

    Please update this page. It is dated last November! Now it’s October 2019.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your comment. This page is a news item dating from the time Level 3 restrictions came into effect. As the Orange community responds to the drought, it’s useful to have the record of each milestone in this journey. A link to the latest coverage has been added.

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