A PREDICTED dry spell could push Douglas Shire into level three water restrictions unless sprinklers and hoses are turned off.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a late start to the wet season, which has exacerbated concerns about heavy water consumption.
Douglas Shire Council predicts about 75 per cent of water is used on lawns and gardens.
This equates to about 150ML per month.
Mayor Julia Leu said there is a window of opportunity to be water wise and avoid level three water restrictions.
“Council has a responsibility to make sure there is enough water for locals and visitors so I am strongly urging everyone to help us and stick to the restrictions. They are for everyone’s benefit,” she said.
“Our water levels are spiralling towards drought conditions, but resorts and some residents continue to use sprinklers and openly disregard water restrictions.
“The BOM have sent us a clear message to prepare for a dry spell and this means getting Douglas Shire to be more water wise than ever.”
Douglas Shire has the highest water consumption per capita out of all Council areas in Far North Queensland, using about 1260 litres per capita per day.
For comparison, Cairns uses 418L and Townsville 860L per capita per day.
This places pressure on Council’s water supplies and reinforces the need to have tighter restrictions in place.
Level three water restrictions strictly prohibit using sprinklers and irrigation system on gardens and only allows hand-watering from 6am to 7am and 6pm to 7pm on alternate days.
Mayor Leu said Council will increase patrols from Monday next week.
“The reality is we are experiencing a really dry period – worse than this time last year – and the chances of a wet weather event is low,” Mayor Leu said.
“Council is encouraging everyone to be vigilant and help us save water.”
“This could be by restricting your watering to a watering can or bucket, or turning off your taps while you brush your teeth.”
Water restrictions are in place to help Council effectively manage water supplies.
VMS Messaging boards, flyers, brochures and magnetic car signs are some of the public education tools being rolled out this month.
Council has directed significant resources into water security to future-proof the region’s water supply for future generations, including the 20ML Port Douglas Reservoir to be open later this year.
Current hosing level 2 restrictions:
Watering is ONLY allowed between 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm on alternate days.
“Alternate days” means your designated days of water use:
– NO watering is permitted on Mondays.
– ODD numbered properties can water on Wednesday, Friday & Sunday.
– EVEN numbered properties can water on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
– Properties without a number can water on Wednesday, Friday & Sunday.
“Alternate days” shall mean designated days of water use.
On the spot fines (Penalty Infringement Notices) of $378 for Residential Customers and $1892 for Non-Residential Customers apply for non-compliance of restrictions.
Water saving tips:
• Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving
• Install a 4-star dual-flush toilet – saves up to 8 litres of water every flush
• Run a full load in a water efficient dishwasher
• Rinse vegetables in a bowl and then use the water on your garden
• Store drinking-water in the fridge-running the tap until it is cool wastes up to 15 litres a minute
• Divert grey water from your washing machine for immediate use on your garden (except vegetables)
• Mulch your garden generously
• Compost food scraps – compost enriches the soil by helping it absorb and hold more water
• Check pools for leaks
• Shade your pool to reduce evaporation
• Install a rainwater tank to help reduce town water supply and your water bills
• Replace old shower heads with water efficient models
• Check all taps for water leaks
• Install flow restricts and aerators into taps around the house
• Use a broom or blower to clean out garages, driveways or patios instead of the hose