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.
“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.