Taps to tighten even further as dam drops
CAIRNS is on a trajectory to more stringent water restrictions despite backyard gardeners dutifully tightening their taps in recent days.
The community response to level 1 restrictions was almost immediate with Cairns Regional Council recording a 16 per cent reduction in daily consumption since Saturday.
The slow drop at Copperlode Dam has persisted, notwithstanding the city’s sprinkler diligence – down from just below 80 per cent capacity on Friday to the current 78.7 per cent.
Without rain, no amount of waterwise backyard habits will keep increased restrictions at bay indefinitely.
“With the dam level continuing to fall, and no significant rainfall predicted, water restrictions will remain in place,” a council spokeswoman said. “If the dam level continues to fall, level 2 restrictions may be necessary in early December.”
Carol Ross is acutely aware of the shifting seasons and the havoc they can wreak on gardens.
As the owner of White Rock Nursery, she has to be. She may not be beholden to council restrictions due to the bore water connection on her property, but dry times are expensive times for such a waterintensive business.
“Most nurseries this size try not to use town water, but it still is so expensive even with your own bore,” she said.
“The council still comes out, measures it and charges you.
“Most of us don’t rely on the rain for our irrigation either, simply because you have to be more in control.”
Ms Ross urged home gardeners not to jump the gun and fill their yards with plants suited to especially arid climates, despite the long dry spell.
She said finding a happy medium between waterwise and wet-proof was the secret to garden survival in the tropics.
“Even grevilleas, you can plant them and they will go well for nine months,” she said.
“But after just two weeks of rain, no matter how lovely they are, they will drop dead.”
Ms Ross said gingers, heliconias, spider lilies, some grasses and bottlebrushes were clever choices that could take the wet with the dry.
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TOUGH TIMES: Carol Ross waters plants at her White Rock Nursery, which she says is an expensive business during dry spells.