Dubbo water restrictions to return to level three from Monday

HELPING THE COMMUNITY: Dubbo councillor Jane Diffey said she was concerned about reducing restrictions to level three but wanted to support local businesses. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
HELPING THE COMMUNITY: Dubbo councillor Jane Diffey said she was concerned about reducing restrictions to level three but wanted to support local businesses. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

The Dubbo local government area will "trial" level three water restrictions until July, despite mayor Ben Shields admitting he's nervous about the change.

The changes will start on Monday, March 30.

However, the restrictions are not the same as last time the region was on level three. They will allow residents to water for an hour on Wednesdays and Sundays with a target of 320 litres of water used per person per day.

The watering of new turf is also permitted.

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Cars are able to be washed on the lawn with a trigger hose and pools can be topped up or filled.

Walls or paved surfaces can only be washed down with a bucket.

Burrendong Dam is currently sitting at 6.54 per cent. Cr Shields said it was at three per cent when the LGA was last on level three restrictions.

But the main reason for easing the restrictions was the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor said.

Cr Shields said there were going to be a lot more people staying at home, and everyone was being asked to wash their hands a lot more.

It's expected the community will use an additional 330 megalitres of water for the year under the new restrictions.

Cr Shields said the restrictions would be reviewed again in July, making this a three month trial for residents.

While normally people are told to "use it or lose it", in this case, he said it was the opposite. Residents still needed to keep their water usage low, Cr Shields said.

"There isn't room for complacency, especially for residential usage," he said.

For six weeks Dubbo residents have remained under the water usage target. But the mayor and councillor Jane Diffey both said they had reservations about the change.

"There is no doubt the recent rains were welcome but while some areas had good falls, others did not and it certainly wasn't drought breaking, especially if there's no follow up rain," Cr Diffey said.

She said while it was easy to come down a level, it was much harder to go back up again.

However, Cr Diffey said given the current social and economic unrest, she didn't want local businesses to be any more disadvantaged.

Councillor Greg Mohr supported the changes. He said council needed to look after the community.

He said there were a lot of people who had started growing their own vegetables as they became harder to source.

There were also elderly people who relied on warm showers, rather than their heaters, to warm up in cooler months, the councillor said.

The councillors were unanimous in their vote on easing restrictions.

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