Level three water restrictions to be imposed early for Glen Innes

Glen Innes will go to level 3 water restrictions from August 1.
Glen Innes will go to level 3 water restrictions from August 1.

Glen Innes Severn Council will impose level three water restrictions next week, well in advance of their drought management plan.

Level 2 restrictions were in force for just one day before the decision.

From August 1 homeowners will not be allowed to refill pools over 2000 litres, gardeners will be forced to use buckets, and residents will also be prohibited from washing paved areas with a hose.

Watering public gardens, sports grounds and bowling greens and more will also be restricted. And using water in ready-mix concrete will require a permit, which will only be granted to local operators.

Council will continue to sell water for use on the Bolivia hill road project, using the Deepwater water supply. That town has been reset to level 1 restrictions in order to allow this to happen, according to Director of Infrastructure Services Keith Appleby.

Deepwater's reserves are full, he told the council meeting, but Glen Innes' water supply has dried up faster than anticipated.

"It's largely due to the dry conditions. The consumption of water is a little higher in the community than was originally predicted in the drought management plan.

"And the production from the Red Range bores is slightly lower as well.

"There is also a minor leak in the southern pit that is currently being repaired as well.

"But it's largely just the fact that we're in unusually dry times. Evaporation does continue to play some part."

Mayor Carol Sparks.

Mayor Carol Sparks.

Mayor Carol Sparks made the recommendation to go to level three in her mayoral minute at last night's council meeting, saying the drought would probably go on longer than anyone expects due to climate change.

"I would raise concerns as to the ongoing weather forecast not being hopeful of rain," she said in the minute.

"There are rising fears in our governments and communities that this is indeed climate changing, changes we have never experienced before and we must try and prepare ourselves for the unknown future.

"Conserving our water and educating our communities on how to save water is important and council will be addressing those issues."

General Manager Mark Riley said the move was "preemptive".

"I think the fact that you can't use sprinklers, you can only use a bucket, I think it will have an impact.

"The hard part is when you start on (levels) 3, 4, 5 you start to lose the amenity of the town.

"Not just from council in terms of ovals and parks and whatnot but people's own houses which I think it the tough side of things.

"It really pushes home when your grass starts to die - we're right in a drought now.

"This is a once-in-a-generation drought this and the sooner is breaks the better."

Councillors unanimously resolved at the July council meeting to adopt the recommendation to jump to level 3 well before the drought management plan recommends to do so.

Level 3 is supposed to be adopted when Glen Innes has just 100 megalitres of water in the northern pond. The Beardy Waters are currently 25 per cent full, with the off-stream Eerindii Ponds 75 per cent full; together they have nearly 1000 megalitres of capacity.

The council is also investigating sinking a bore, and licence applications have been lodged. Council hopes to be able to weather the drought without going to level 4 restrictions, which kick in when the northern pond is empty.