Armidale moves to level 5 water restrictions and day-zero count-down

Level 5 water restrictions with three day-zero triggers for residential water targets will be introduced in Armidale from Tuesday 1 October. Guyra has been on level 5 restrictions since June.

The decision to escalate Armidale to level 5 water restrictions has been made because of the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest forecast for continued below average rainfall and above average temperatures.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Cr Simon Murray said the Armidale region historically receives most of its regular rainfall in Spring and Summer which may be unlikely to occur.

“As the drought continues the water supply is in decline. The Armidale region has only 427 days till day zero,” said Cr Murray.

“We are stepping up our water conservation actions to prolong supply and we need your urgent help to apply level 5 water restrictions and meet our first level 5 trigger 1 target of 160 litres per person per day.

“I would like to thank the community for their commitment to water saving, but we all need to do more to ensure we don’t run out of water. We must work together as a region to save our remaining water supply for as long as we can and meet, or even exceed our 160 litre target.”

Three triggers to day-zero with reduced per person daily water consumption targets will sit alongside level 5 restrictions. Council will no longer refer to dam levels rather days to zero and our trigger 1 target.

“By modifying our behaviour towards water and focusing our attention to adding days to our day zero we will introduce water saving actions around the home and business for the immediate crisis and in the long-term,” said Cr Murray.

“There will be a time when we do get rain and our dams fill. But we will be better armed to deal with climate variability and drought in the future once we learn to value water better and take simple steps to reduce water wastage everyday.”

There is no change for residents as we move from level 4 water restrictions to level 5. No outside watering will continue to be enforced and as we move into the warmers months Council will increase water patrols.

Level 5 has a greater impact on the business community with high water users being asked to reduce water consumption by up to 25 percent on their average water usage. Council will initially work with the top business water users to assist in developing a Water Saving Action Plan.

The plan will include a free water audit, access to a business rebate scheme and a water conservation officer who will assist businesses in developing water saving strategies.

“Council will be asking businesses to step-up and share the responsibility with residents to reduce water consumption and add days to our day-zero,” said Cr Murray.

“We are already working very closely with some of our highest water users who are making a major commitment to water saving,” said Cr Murray. “Council is one of those high water users and has initiated a number of strategies to reduce water usage and will also be expected to complete a Water Saving Action Plan.

“Council has redirected additional resources to focus more broadly on engaging with our top 70 business water users, including accommodation providers, schools and manufacturing.”

A Drought Management Water Restrictions Communications and Engagement Plan is now being implemented and the community can expect to see over the next month a refocused promotional campaign utilising all media channels.

Exemptions previously issued by Council will no longer be valid under level 5. Any individual or business with an existing exception from Council will be required to resubmit an application form and be reassessed against level 5 criteria from I October.

/Public Release. View in full here.