Water wise or water lucky: Dubbo city escapes water restrictions in dry times
DESPITE the dry conditions across most of Western NSW, Dubbo residents have not been hit with water restrictions, and it seems Dubbo Regional Council is not planning on issuing any for the foreseeable future.
With more than 70 per cent of Dubbo’s water coming from the Macquarie River, and another 30 per cent coming from the South Dubbo borefield, urban Dubbo and its surrounding villages are well supplied, according to Council.
A spokesman for Dubbo Regional Council confirmed that “no water restrictions are being considered” and that the area “still has our full allocation of water”, despite the current climate across the state.
While Dubbo has not issued any restrictions, other nearby councils have residents on low level limits, some of which have been in place for some time.
Water restrictions in Western NSW range from Level One through to Six, with ‘one’ being low and ‘six’ being critical. Controls in Orange are currently at Level Two – considered moderate – and in force for all areas of Orange City Council.
Orange mayor Reg Kidd said that residents see these controls as normal.
“Throughout this period for more than five years, the residents of Orange have been on Level Two water restrictions. During that period, the new larger dam was filled to capacity and ran over the spillway, but Orange stayed on Level Two water restrictions,” Mayor Kidd told Dubbo Photo News.
“While the word ‘restriction’ sounds harsh, in reality it isn’t. In Orange it allows normal use,” he added.
Level Two restrictions mean that gardens, shrubs and lawns can only be watered for three hours in the morning, between 7am and 10am; and between 4pm and 7pm in the evenings, on an odds and evens system.
Restrictions also mean no hosing of walls and paved areas, topping up pools between 7-9am and 6-8pm, and washing vehicles any day but only between 9am and midday. Vehicles can only be washed on the lawn using a bucket, with rinsing done by a hose.
Residents face on-the-spot fines of $220 if they break these rules, with a maximum penalty of $2000 for more serious breaches.
Orange’s water supply storage levels have been decreasing since their peak in winter 2016, according to the council’s records. The main source of water for the area comes from run-off that flows into Spring Creek Dam and Suma Park Dam. As of early May, Suma Park Dam was at 54.86 per cent capacity, while Spring Creek Dam was sitting just over 80 per cent.
Just 12 months ago, the Suma Park Dam was sitting at more than 83 per cent capacity, indicating how much the water levels have dropped in one year.
“We’ve raised the height of the dam wall at our major water storage dam, Suma Park. That’s given us an extra ten per cent of capacity. A water pipeline has been built to connect our dam with the Macquarie River, linking the dam with
I’m a First Aid Trainer and Assessor, semi-retired.
I work for the Australian Red Cross. At the moment I’m trying to put AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) machines throughout Dubbo in all the high traffic areas, like shopping centres.
Do you need to learn how to use them? No, anyone
can use them because they talk to you. I tell people, “Just for once in your life do as you’re told.” It talks you right through from the time you open it to when it delivers the shock, and you can’t hurt anyone. If you need to use one, you just go straight inside the business and you will see it on the wall, you just take it. An alarm will go off so the store owner will know that it’s going. They’ve much larger catchment area. We’ve developed an award-winning stormwater harvesting scheme. We have local water bores,” Mayor Kidd said.
He said that despite the dam spilling over during the last five years, the change in culture towards water use by residents means the Level Two restrictions aren’t seen as a bad thing.
“(In one week in early May) our average water use was 209 litres per person per day. While other communities have been able to drop their consumption for short periods of time, the way Orange residents have been able to change their approach long term has made our consumption one of the lowest in Australia,” he said.
The state of play in other Western council areas varies, but most are facing lower level restrictions. Residents of Narromine Shire are on Level Two, while Parkes Shire Council has its residents on Level One restrictions, in which drip systems and sprinklers are not permitted for use between 10am and 5pm.
all been instructed to send a staff member with it for assistance and to make sure it comes back.
How will people know where they are? There will
be a sticker in the window of the businesses that have them. Council will also be putting a list of where they all are in with the rates. I am negotiating with Council at the moment about putting signs up in the streets. We are trying to get them (located) less than two minutes apart in the main streets because time is limited in an emergency. In Talbragar Street, there will be five down both sides of the road.
Why are you so motivated to get the AEDS in Dubbo? There are 850 people
each week having heart attacks in Australia. The
Dubbo hospital treats 322 annually and a lot of those people have heart attacks outside the home, down the street. I was speaking to one of the Cardiologists at the hospital, and he said that on average it will save a couple of lives every week. We are trying to get 20 – we’ve got ten now.
Are you fundraising to purchase them?
Yes, through the Dubbo Macquarie Rotary Club. We would gratefully accept any cash donations which can be deposited into the ‘Defib Account’ at Regional Australia Bank in Dubbo.
How did you become involved in First Aid Training? When my son
Despite not facing restrictions, it doesn’t hurt to limit the use of our most precious resource in these dry times. Here are a few ways you can reduce the amount of water you use in your home. z wait for a full load before you run it. Alternatively, wash by hand as it uses less than a third of the water an older dishwasher does. z Showers: install a water-saving head and try to reduce your time under the water by one minute. And showers always use less water than baths. z wait until you have a full load, otherwise be sure to select the relevant water level on your machine. You can re-use the water to wash paths or cars. z Bathroom: Be sure to turn the tap off while brushing and try only turning the tap on to quarter strength, rather than full. z Sweep pathways with a broom, rather than using your hose. z Get a trigger nozzle for your hose so you can control the water flow. was about 14 he came home from school one day and asked if he could join St John’s Ambulance. I used
Dishwashers: Washing machine:
to take him to his training meetings, then I finished up joining along with him. I had about ten years with St John’s and then switched over to Red Cross and I’ve been with them ever since.
Before that I was with the Coast Guard in Sydney for
about eight years. If people got into trouble on the water we would go and help them out. It’s a voluntary organisation and we would work with the Water Police. We would keep the harbour under control for all the big events like the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Note: First aid courses are held at the Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre – full course once a month and refresher course once a month. To book, people need to call Red Cross in Dubbo or the 1300 number.