Drought: Water restrictions and rules in the Central West | Your guide

AS DAM levels keep plummeting and the drought continues across the Central West many councils are tightening up on water restrictions, while others have no usage limits at all.

The long-running drought has left paddocks parched and some councils enforcing strict rules on how residents are able to use water.

While residents are being encouraged to use less water, only one council is offering a limited supply of water saving devices.

A Dubbo Regional Council spokeswoman said limited promotional items including flow restrictors and shower timers were currently available.

"Council will also have further promotional items and information available at the annual Dubbo and Wellington Show in May," she said.

Water restrictions, by council area (in alphabetical order)

Bathurst Regional Council

Level three (high) water restrictions have been in place in the Bathurst Regional Council area since late November 2018.

"This is a necessary and precautionary measure to ensure that the drinking water supply for the Bathurst region can be preserved for as long as possible, given the low levels of rainfall which have been received in the Bathurst region in recent times," council's website states.

"Inappropriate use of water during specified periods of water restrictions may result in penalties."

Level three water restrictions are in place when Chifley Dam's level is between 30-49 per cent capacity. It is currently 44.9 per cent.

Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger said council-issued shower timers had been extremely popular and they were are in the process of obtaining more.

"We are also running a series of free Water Wise gardening workshops for our residents in May to assist in managing gardens under water restrictions," he said.

"The workshops will cover topics such as caring for plants in dry times, features of drought tolerant plants, using grey water on gardens and much more."

Bookings can be  made by phoning 6333 6100.

Water restrictions include:

Watering lawns and gardens

  • Odds and evens, and
  • Water between 6am-9am or 6pm-9pm only, and
  • Maximum total watering 30 minutes a day
  • Carefully consider current and future conditions and restrictions before ordering or laying new turf

Car washing (at home)

  • Permitted with use of bucket on lawn and trigger nozzle on hose, and
  • Permitted between 6am-9am or 6pm-9pm only

Swimming pools

  • Top up between 6am-9am or 6pm-9pm only, as long as a pool cover is used
  • Obtain written council permission before first fill of swimming pool

Garden features and child ponds

  • Top up and filling permitted for garden features and temporary child pools

Washing hard surfaces

  • Washing of outdoor hard surfaces such as driveways and footpaths not permitted except for health and safety purposes (washing only allowed in immediately affected area and with use of a high pressure/low volume water device).

Indoor activities

  • Water wise actions required

Non-residential

  • Non-residential users must adhere to the above restrictions unless indicated below
  • A Water Efficiency Plan (WEP) must be developed for: vehicle washes, construction industry, commercial nurseries, food/pet food production, canneries, pet care, public water features, child care, public sporting fields, parks and gardens (including street trees), educational services, health care services, aged care services, motels, caravan parks and cabins, hotels and registered clubs, and businesses with cooling towers.
  • Exterior cleaning permitted with trigger nozzle only (must have WEP)
  • Turf farms and market gardens connected to Bathurst's water supply: between 9pm-6am (must have WEP)​

Blayney

Level 2 water restrictions came into place in the Blayney Shire Council area on January 1, 2019.

Central Tablelands Water (CTW) chair David Somervaille said at the time water restrictions usually begun when Lake Rowlands dropped to 60 per cent, but at the start of the year it was at 68 per cent.

"It is vital that CTW manages its water source responsibly, and therefore by considering all current and historical data, making the early call (on level two restrictions) greatly assists in managing our precious resource," he said.

"This allows CTW to continue to provide a quality and reliable water supply to our consumers."

Level two restrictions consists of an 'odds and evens' system under which watering of gardens and lawns is permitted only every second day between the times of 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm, not with the use of fixed sprinklers. Other restrictions do apply.

Bogan

Level two (moderate) restrictions are in place in Nyngan and Hermidale. Image: BOGAN SHIRE COUNCIL

Level two (moderate) restrictions are in place in Nyngan and Hermidale. Image: BOGAN SHIRE COUNCIL

Level two (moderate) water restrictions commenced on January 28, 2019 in Nyngan and Hermidale.

Bogan Shire Council have recommended a maximum water consumption of 240 litres per person per day.

Water restrictions include:

Odds and Evens

  • How every second day works: If your house or business is an even number then you can water on the even days of the month (the 2nd, 4th, 6th etc.). If your house in an odd number, then you can water on the odd days of the month, (the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc.). There is no residential or non-residential outside water use on the 31st of the month.

Residential

  • Watering of lawns: Watering systems, micro sprays, drip systems, soaker hoses, non-fixed sprinklers and hand held hoses between 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm every second day on an odds and evens basis only.
  • Watering of gardens: Watering systems, micro sprays, drip systems, soaker hoses, non-fixed sprinklers and hand held hoses between 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm every second day on an odds and evens basis only.
  • Car or boat washing: by bucket with trigger hose rinse only between 9am and 12pm.
  • New turf: irrigation permitted for one week after laying.
  • Topping up of pools: Permitted only between the hours of 7am to 9am and 6pm to 8pm.
  • Washing down walls or paved surfaces: Not permitted.

Non-residential

  • Watering of lawns: Watering systems, micro sprays, drip systems, soaker hoses, non-fixed sprinklers and hand held hoses between 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm every second day on an odds and evens basis only.
  • Watering of gardens: Watering systems, micro sprays, drip systems, soaker hoses, non-fixed sprinklers and hand held hoses between 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm every second day on an odds and evens basis only.
  • Construction - wash down, paint prep, curing: Permitted.
  • Cleaning - exterior: Permitted with trigger hoses anytime.

Cabonne

Water restrictions currently apply in Molong, Cumnock and Yeoval.

The restrictions in Yeoval, however, were relaxed from level four to level three on April 4 following recent rain in the Buckinbah Creek catchment.

A Cabonne Council spokesman said letters were recently sent to all residents in Yeoval to let them know of the relaxed restrictions.

Under level three restrictions:

  • Watering systems, non-fixed sprinklers, hand-held hoses, micro-sprays, drip systems and soaker hoses may be used for a maximum of one hour per between 6am and 9am and 6pm and 9pm every second day under an odds and evens system.
  • If a property has an even number, residents may water on even days of the calendar and odd street numbers on odd days. If a property has no street number, it is treated as an even number.
  • Cars can be washed at home with a bucket and rinsed with a trigger hose on lawn or a grass surface for a maximum of one hour between 6am-9am and 6-pm-9pm.
  • Swimming pools, spas and garden water features may be topped up between 7am-8am and 7pm-8pm
  • Irrigation of new turf is permitted for one week after laying. After that time, level three restrictions on watering lawns apply.
  • Washing down walls or paved surfaces is not permitted.

For water restriction information regarding Canowindra, Cargo, Cudal, Eugowra and Manildra, please contact Central Tablelands Water.

Cowra

There are no current water restrictions, but Cowra Council general manager Paul Devery said the situation was constantly under review.

"Wyanaga Dam is an irrigation dam managed by the NSW Government and the water consumed by urban communities such as Cowra is a fraction, around two per cent, of the volume in the river with irrigators being the major consumers," he said.

"Consumers supplied directly by Central Tablelands Water (CTW) are subject to CTW restrictions. The circumstance may also arise where CTW asks Cowra Council to consider imposing restrictions on water supplied by Cowra but sourced from CTW.

"The triggers (for water restrictions) in Cowra Council's Drought Management Plan start when council's surface water allocation is reduced to 60 per cent. At the present time the allocation remains at 100 per cent."

Dubbo

There may be no water restrictions for residents living in the Dubbo Regional Council area, but council said there is a very good reason for that.

"Dubbo still has 100 per cent allocation of it water supply both ground water and surface/river water," a council spokeswoman said.

"If Water NSW reduce our allocation entitlement then we will implement our drought management plan where restrictions will be enforced."

Meanwhile, council is promoting water saving conservation at its Dubbo and Wellington administration buildings and library.

"Also on display are limited promotional items including flow restrictors and shower timers," the spokeswoman said.

"Council will also have further promotional items and information available at the annual Dubbo and Wellington Show in May."

Forbes

Level one water restrictions apply in urban areas due to ongoing dry weather and drought conditions

The following watering is allowed:

  • Fixed sprinklers are allowed between 6pm and 7pm only using the odds and evens system (ie. odd house numbers water on odd numbered days). There is currently no restriction on hand held watering - however it is strongly recommended that watering not be undertaken during the hottest part of the day.
  • A soaker hose is deemed to be a sprinkler for the purpose of water restrictions - not a micro system.
  • Automatic systems can be used between 1am and 3am after initial notification to council, using the odds and evens system.
  • Public/commercial operators (nurseries and public gardens/sports fields) can water daily from 7-10am and 5-8pm.
  • Commercial businesses (other than nurseries or sporting organisations can used fixed sprinklers or watering systems between 8am to 10am, using the odds and evens system.
  • Filling of new swimming pools is prohibited without written exemption from council. Topping up is permitted.
  • Washing of paved areas is prohibited without a permit from council.
  • Washing of motor vehicles can only be undertaken on grassed areas.

Hilltops

Level one water restrictions apply in the Hilltops local government area, including Boorowa, Harden and Young.

There are a number of water saving measures that residents are being asked to abide, these can be found on council's water management page.

While Hilltops council does not currently offer residents any free or low cost water saving devices, it is however a member of Smart Water Advice which offers tips to residents on the best water saving devices to purchase.

Lithgow

No water restrictions are in place for residents and a Lithgow City Council water and waste water director Daniel Buckens said there was "no view to implement at this stage".

Council currently offers no free or low cost water saving devices to its residents.

"Council is offering a 50 per cent rebate to farmers who wish to take water from council standpipe/filling stations," Mr Buckens said.

The current capacity in Farmers Creek Dam is 56 per cent.

Mid-Western

There are currently no water restrictions in place within the Mid-Western local government area.

Council general manager Brad Cam said Water NSW were planning a bulk water transfer from Windamere Dam in October this year.

"If the transfer proceeds council will consider the need to implement water restrictions," he said.

Council currently does not provide water saving devices to residents.

Narromine

Narromine Shire Council has implemented level three water restrictions in Narromine only.

No water restrictions are in place for Trangie and Tomingley.

Restrictions include:

  • Watering of lawns and gardens: Use of micro sprays, drip systems and soaker hoses limited to: 6am-9am and 6pm-9pm. Every second day in accordance with the odds and evens scheme. Hand held hoses are not permitted.
  • Washing down of paved/concrete surfaces: These surfaces are not to be washed down during water restrictions, except if a spill poses a health or safety hazard.
  • Irrigation of new turf: Permitted for one week after laying, after which level three water restrictions on watering lawns apply.
  • Private Swimming Pools and Spas: Pools may be topped up with a hand held hose but only between 7am-9am and 6pm-8pm any day. All pools must have a cover that is being used.
  • First fill of private swimming pools: Only with council permission and provided that a pool cover is used.
  • Car washing: With a bucket only on lawn. Only permitted between 9am-12pm any day.
  • Washing of clothes: Residents to be encouraged to wash only in full loads.
  • Showers/ Baths: Permitted
  • Use of evap coolers: Permitted
  • Inflatable/temporary children's pools: Permitted

Narromine Shire Council does not offer water saving devices to residents.

Read more about water restrictions in Narromine Shire Council.

Oberon

Level one water restrictions now apply in Oberon.

Under level one water restrictions for residential gardens, fixed hoses and sprinklers connected to the Oberon reticulated water system are banned between the hours of 8am and 4pm, though there is no restriction on handheld hoses.

A Oberon Council spokesman said that further restrictions may be enforced if water levels continue to drop.

"At the present time Lake Oberon is at a 42 per cent capacity. Council will be considering further restrictions should the lake drop below 40 per cent," he said.

Oberon Council does not offer water saving devices to residents.

Orange

Level four water restrictions commenced for residents in Orange City Council area on Saturday, April 6.

"The introduction of water-saving equipment is part of a larger plan that's still being developed," a council spokesperson said.

Find out more and learn how to save water.

Restrictions include:

  • Lawns: No watering.
  • Residential gardens: No sprinklers. Only micro-sprays, drip systems, soaker hoses. Limited daily hours, two days a week only (Wednesdays and Sundays 4pm-6pm). One hand-held hose with a trigger-nozzle for up to half an hour on those two days.
  • Water features: Water features can be topped up.
  • New turf: No
  • Swimming pools: Pool covers must be used. Topping up only between 7am-9am and 6pm-8pm any day.
  • Pop-up children's pools: May be used.
  • Washing cars at home: Washing cars with bucket only on lawn from 9am to 12noon any day.
  • Baths and showers: Suggested limit of five minute shower. One bath per day.
  • Washing machines: Full loads only.
  • Evaporative coolers: Only to be used 7am to midnight daily.

Parkes

Level two water restrictions are currently in place across Parkes Shire Council.

While council does not offer free or low cost water saving devices, it does encourage residents to adopt water saving measures and help to reduce their water consumption and offers up some handy tips.

Restrictions include:

Domestic - users can water with microsprays, sprinklers and drip systems after 5pm and before 10am on alternate days:

  • For odd numbered properties (1,3,5..etc) the days are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • For even numbered properties (2,4,6.. etc) the days are Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
  • No watering with sprinklers/microsprays is permitted on Mondays.
  • Hand held hoses are not restricted.

Public/commercial - no restrictions are in place

Industrial - no restrictions for process and manufacturing.

Weddin

No information on any water restrictions was available on Weddin Shire Council's website and council did not respond to requests for comment for this story.