Following the implementation of moderate water restrictions across the Mid Coast region this week, the community has responded with frustration, with some commenting that restrictions could have been avoided if earlier action had been taken.
MidCoast Council’s director of water services, Brendan Guiney has shed some light on the current state of the regions water supply, responding to the questions posed by residents.
Taking part in a discussion on the Great Lakes Advocate Facebook page, resident, Christine Mae suggested that the holiday season meant more water had been used.
“That would be right, following straight after the temporary increase in population,” she said.
“The amount of water that is wasted at the outdoor showers at the swimming areas is disgusting.”
Mr Guiney said that while the demand for water can reduce by 3 to 5ML/day after the tourist season, this varies greatly in any year.
“This year tourist demand was down, while the demand from permanent population was up due to the dry weather, meaning a less noticeable reduction in demand after the tourist season,” he said.
Resident, Susan Gilmour-Butterfield commented that washing boats was also a contributing factor to the shortage, and Sandra Corbett queried whether the outside showers use town water or recycled/bore water?
“There are no signs saying that it is recycled or bore,” Christine Mae added.
“The outside showers at the beaches are run off town water,” Mr Guiney said.
“Although usage is highly visible, since the installation of spring loaded tapware by council the actual water usage is not as significant as it used to be.
“The water used in showering at beaches is somewhat offset by people then not showering at home.”
Alana Simon suggested council be questioned about aquifers.
“Plenty of supply there...” she said.
Mr Guiney said that currently the water supply for the Forster Tuncurry area, along with the Manning, is drawn from the Manning River via the Bootawa Water Treatment Plant.
“MidCoast Water Services is currently constructing a $34.6 million scheme to utilise an aquifer at Nabiac,” he added.
“You can find more information about this at http://www.midcoastwater.com.au/site/nabiacwtp.”
Deborah Tony suggested that preemptive action could have reduced the problem.
“Maybe if restrictions had been introduced prior to Christmas we might be in a different situation now,” she commented, but Mr Guiney responded saying unfortunately, this wouldn’t have the desired impact.
“Our key trigger for water restrictions is river flow,” he explained.
“As an example, the Manning River only dropped below the level where we couldn’t pump on January 23.
“Prior this point in time, Bootawa Dam was at 100 per cent and water restrictions would not be meaningful.”
Susan Gilmour-Butterfield pondered whether local water bills will go down, to which Essie McDonald responded with humour.
“You are really living in dream land!!” she said
“Yeah! I know. Had to ask!” Susan responded.
“Most expensive water in Australia,” Judy Ryan added.
Mr Guiney said stated that rates wouldn’t go up on a short term basis.
“In the long term, MidCoast Water Services is investing in projects like the Nabiac Inland Dune Aquifer Water Supply which does increase water prices but improves water security for the Manning Great Lakes region,” he said.
For more information, visit www.midcoastwater.com.au/restrictions for full details of the moderate - level one- restrictions and any changes to restriction levels.