Water wise or water lucky: Dubbo city es­capes water re­stric­tions in dry times

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JU­DITH WHIT­FIELD

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.

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