Wa­ter use de­bate dry old ar­gu­ment

Christ­mas drop en­cour­ag­ing but more could be done

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By SELINA SHAR­RATT

TWIN cities res­i­dents are still flout­ing pleas to cut back on wa­ter us­age, de­spite en­cour­ag­ing drops in con­sump­tion over Christ­mas.

Townsville and Thuringowa city coun­cils have been urg­ing res­i­dents to drop con­sump­tion to 140Ml per day af­ter level two re­stric­tions and the Wa­ter Man­age­ment Strat­egy were i n t r o d u c e d i n m i d - Novem­ber.

Since then, the av­er­age con­sump­tion has been 155.8Ml per day, which equates to 3.5 per cent of the Ross River Dam.

But au­thor­i­ties are warn­ing it is still too high.

Christ­mas Day saw a drop to 116Ml and Box­ing Day con­sump­tion was 113Ml.

Re­cent rain­fall has helped re­plen­ish some wa­ter stocks, but more is needed to have a se­ri­ous im­pact.

The dam level is cur­rently at 16.5 per cent ca­pac­ity.

‘‘The ac­tual ca­pac­ity of the dam has risen about 1400Ml overnight (Wed­nes­day) so pre­sum­ably there has been some run-off rain,’’ an NQ Wa­ter spokesman said.

‘‘There are 11 mea­sur­ing sta­tions in the Ross River Dam catch­ment, one of those recorded 11mm.

‘‘It doesn’t mean much in it­self but if the land is primed there will be a lit­tle bit of run-off.’’

The spokesman said fur­ther rain­fall across the re­gion would help dam lev­els rise.

The Townsville Weather Bureau has fore­cast some rain and pos­si­ble thun­der­storms over the com­ing days.

Thuringowa Mayor Les Tyrell said he was pleased with the fig­ures but en­cour­aged res­i­dents to con­tinue to cut wa­ter us­age.

Cr Tyrell said there had been no fines handed out to res­i­dents dur­ing the 41 days of the level two wa­ter re­stric­tion pe­riod.

‘‘The fig­ures are pleas­ing and peo­ple ob­vi­ously un­der- stand our need to wa­ter at re­stricted times,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s al­ways peo­ple who are do­ing the wrong thing and those peo­ple have cer­tainly been get­ting warn­ings.’’

He said if wa­ter lev­els con­tin­ued to drop of­fi­cers would fine res­i­dents who ig­nored the cur­rent bans of not sprin­kling be­tween 9am and 4pm on the odds and evens sys­tem.

The in­tro­duc­tion of level three wa­ter re­stric­tions will be im­ple­mented when the dam hits 10 per cent ca­pac­ity.

‘‘The dam is not ex­pected to get to 10 per cent un­til mid to late-Jan­uary,’’ the NQ Wa­ter spokesman said.

Breaches of wa­ter fines carry a min­i­mum $150 on­the-spot fine.

Townsville’s five-tier pol­icy in­cludes the fol­low­ing mea­sures:

Level one: 20 per cent level; sprin­kling sub­ject to odds and evens sys­tem.

Level two: be­low 20 per cent level; sprin­kling is banned from 9am to 4pm fol­low­ing odds and evens.

Level three: be­low 10 per cent; wa­ter po­lice will en­force a day­light ban on wa­ter­ing.

Level four: 5 per cent; sprin­kling al­lowed for just two hours a day, from 6.30-7.30am and 6.30-7.30pm.

Level five: 3.5 per cent; will ban all ir­ri­ga­tion ex­cept for hand-held wa­ter­ing two hours a day.

Photo:EVANMORGANUHI02854

SPE­CIAL TREAT­MENT . . . duty of­fi­cer Phil Tibbey at the Douglas wa­ter treat­ment plant

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