'Critical situation' for town's water supply
TENTERFIELD residents are urged to remain vigilant with their water use as council prepares to introduce a new water restriction level.
At the March 27 ordinary council meeting, Tenterfield Shire Council voted to introduce a new level 4.5 water restriction to the Tenterfield town water supply, with hopes it will reduce demand on the drinkable water supply.
Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said to all water users in the Tenterfield water supply area to be vigilant with their water use, with the new level of water restrictions scheduled be introduced on Wednesday, April 17.
"We are approaching a critical situation," Cr Petty said.
"Without reduced water consumption, we will be in the same situation as Southern Downs Regional Council which includes our residents in Jennings who are now at Level 5 Extreme Restrictions where use for everything apart from domestic use is banned, with a target of 120 litres per person per day."
Cr Petty said the prolonged drought impact across the Tenterfield region, many rural properties are running out of water and are carting water for domestic and stock purposes from council's bulk water dispensing station.
He said this additional impact on the town water supply is proving "unsustainable" and undermines water saving measures otherwise being applied under the current Level 4 water restrictions.
Cr Petty said the key focus of the new Level 4.5 is only registered water carriers will be able to access the water dispensing station from April 17.
He said council has a Drought Management Plan in place which relies on a combination of five levels of water restrictions, as well as a backup bore at Shirley Park.
At present, Tenterfield Dam is just holding at 37 per cent capacity, with the Shirley Park bore pumping close to 0.9 ML per day to supplement the dam water feed inflow to the water treatment plant.
However, the "less than ideal" water quality and salt content of the Shirley Park bore water means this source of water supply cannot be used indefinitely.
Cr Petty said without drought breaking rain to restore the dam supply in the next nine months, he believes council may be forced to cart water from outside of the shire by Christmas.
As part of Level 4.5 water restrictions, Tenterfield Shire Council imposes the following restrictions:
- Tenterfield bulk water dispensing station available only for domestic supply in the Tenterfield Shire LGA
- Bulk potable water cartage with tanks greater than 6 KL has been banned from council's water dispensing station, except for potable water carriers registered with council
- Potable water carriers are to enter into a purchase agreement with council to only dispense water to tanks connected to residences
- Fixed hoses are banned
- Filling and topping up of pools and spas are banned
- All washing of motor vehicles, fountains and auto flush systems are banned
- Micro sprays and garden watering systems are limited to 30 minutes each day from 5.30pm to 6pm
- Hand held hoses are limited to one per residence and only to be used for 30 minutes each day from 5.30pm to 6pm
- The use of potable water is banned in public gardens. Council can use non potable, treated water from the sewage treatment plant with appropriately signed water carts to help retain public green space trees and garden beds, but not ovals or public playing areas
- Sports grounds and Tenterfield showground are banned from watering with potable water
- Market gardens are limited to sprinklers for one hour each day from 5pm to 6pm
- Nurseries are limited to hand-held hoses for one hour each day from 5pm to 6pm or microsprays for 30 minutes each day from 5.30pm to 6pm
- Potable water use for ready mixed concrete is banned. Allowances will be made for possible access to non potable, treated water from the sewage treatment plant for concrete production
- Automatic filling of stock troughs is allowed only until Apex Park bore is available, after which autofilling of stock troughs is banned (approximately ending June 2019)
- All water cartage from council water sources is subject to council approval
- Other water uses are subject to council approval