Taps to tighten even fur­ther as dam drops

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - CHRIS CALCINO chris.calcino@news.com.au

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.

ed­i­to­rial@cairn­spost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost

Pic­ture: STE­WART McLEAN

TOUGH TIMES: Carol Ross wa­ters plants at her White Rock Nurs­ery, which she says is an ex­pen­sive busi­ness dur­ing dry spells.

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