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Water restrictions and trigger levels

Water restrictions

Water restrictions were lifted on 17 April 2020 and conservation measures are being encouraged to help reduce the daily demand on our water supply.

Water restriction levels are determined based on an assessment of daily customer demand and the storage volume available in our dams. 

Predicted weather forecasts and the flow and quality of the rivers are also taken in consideration when implementing water restrictions.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council adopted revised water restriction trigger levels, and the 2014 Uniform Regional Water Restrictions, at the Ordinary Council Meeting of 20 July 2016. These revised water restriction trigger levels are:

Level Trigger Point (total combined Dam storage levels)
Water Conservation Measures >70%
LEVEL 1 Moderate 70%
LEVEL 2 High 60%
LEVEL 3 Very High 45%
LEVEL 4 Severe 35%
 Emergency  25%

The General Manager has the delegated authority to exercise discretion when imposing water restrictions, giving due consideration to the time of year and prevailing weather conditions. Similarly, the General Manager also has the delegation to exercise discretion when lifting water restrictions, giving due consideration to the potential for pumping from the Hastings River and combined storage levels in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams.  Refer to Dam Levels and Water Demand.

Water Conservation Measures are encouraged at all times to help maintain water storage volumes. Please refer to Water Saving Tips for ways you can help conserve this important resource.

If you wish to view further information on Port Macquarie-Hastings water supply, please refer to  Council's 2015 Water Supply Policy9MB pdf(PDF, 9MB) which was amended on 4 December 2018.

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will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 70%:

  • Residential

    What days can I water?  If your house is an even number you can water on even dates (the 2nd, 4th 6th etc.) and if your house is an odd number, you can water on odd dates (the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc.).  Residential outside water use is not permitted on the 31st day of the month.

    • handheld hoses, fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle, can be used for a maximum of 1 hour before 9am OR after 4pm on odd or even dates matching house number
    • water sprinklers are banned
    • micro-sprays with nozzles less than 3mm diameter can be used for 15 minutes within the above allocation

    • watering cans, buckets and tank water can be used at any time
    • car and boat washing, on lawn area, with bucket and trigger hose rinse is permitted at any time

    • boat motor flushing is permitted on lawn area for 5 minutes only at any time

    • topping up of pools and spas is permitted with handheld hoses only for 1 hour before 9am OR after 4pm

    • cleaning windows, walls, roofs and gutters is permitted with buckets only before 9am OR after 4pm

    • cleaning driveways, paths and hardstand areas is permitted for health and safety reasons only

    • exemptions for establishing new turf are available from Council

    Public Areas

    • sporting field irrigation systems can be used between 1am and 2am Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    • public/community gardens may use handheld hoses between 8am and 9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    • fountains and garden ponds may use handheld hose for up to 1 hour before 9am OR after 4pm

    Commercial and Industrial

    • sprinkler systems can be used at nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens for a maximum of 2 hours before 9am

    • businesses and commercial activities that utilise water for their normal business are exempt (other than plant nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens), e.g. high-pressure water cleaning businesses.  

    • all other businesses must use a hand-held hose (with cut-off trigger or control nozzle) for a maximum of 1 hour before 9am OR after 4pm

    • dust suppression is permitted with recycled water only.

will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 60%:

  • Residential

    What days can I water?  If your house is an even number you can water on even dates (the 2nd, 4th 6th etc.) and if your house is an odd number, you can water on odd dates (the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc.).  Residential outside water use is not permitted on the 31st day of the month.

    • handheld hoses, fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle, can be used for a maximum of 30 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm on odd or even dates matching house number
    • water sprinklers are banned

    • micro-sprays with nozzles less than 3mm diameter can be used for 15 minutes within the above allocation

    • watering cans, buckets and tank water can be used at any time
    • car and boat washing, on lawn area, with bucket and trigger hose rinse is permitted within the above allocation

    • boat motor flushing is permitted on lawn area for 5 minutes only on allotted day

    • topping up of pools and spas is permitted with handheld hoses only is permitted for 30 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm

    • cleaning windows, walls, roofs and gutters is permitted with buckets only

    • cleaning driveways, paths and hardstand areas is permitted for health and safety reasons only

    • exemptions for establishing new turf are available from Council

    Public Areas

    • sporting field irrigation systems can be used between 1am and 1.30am Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    • public/community gardens may use handheld hoses between 8.30am and 9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    • fountains and garden ponds may use handheld hose for up to 30 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm

    Commercial and Industrial

    • sprinkler systems can be used at nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens for a maximum of 2 hours before 9am

    • businesses and commercial activities that utilise water for their normal business are exempt (other than plant nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens), e.g. high-pressure water cleaning businesses.  

    • all other businesses must use a hand-held hose (with cut-off trigger or control nozzle) for a maximum of 30 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm

    • dust suppression is permitted with recycled water only.

will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 45%:

  • Residential

    What days can I water?  If your house is an even number you can water on even dates (the 2nd, 4th 6th etc.) and if your house is an odd number, you can water on odd dates (the 1st, 3rd, 5th etc.).  Residential outside water use is not permitted on the 31st day of the month.

    • handheld hoses, fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle, can be used for a total of 10 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm (allotted time) for watering gardens or lawns, cleaning out garbage bins, topping up pools or spas and washing cars or boats.
    • water sprinklers, micro-sprays and drip irrigation systems are banned

    • cleaning windows, walls, roofs and gutters is banned

    • cleaning driveways, paths and hardstand is banned unless for health and safety reasons only

    • tank water (filled with rainwater), watering cans, buckets and greywater can be used at any time

    • car and boat washing, on lawn area, with a bucket only is permitted at any time, with rinsing only with a hand held hose during allotted time. Boat motor flushing is permitted on lawn area for 5 minutes only on day of use

    • No exemptions for establishing new turf are available from Council, however new turf can be watered for up to 10 minutes during allotted times

    Public Areas

    • sporting field irrigation systems may use recycled water only

    • public/community gardens may use recycled or rainwater only

    • fountains and garden ponds may use a handheld hose for up to 10 minutes during allotted times

    Commercial and Industrial

    • Outdoor water is limited to critical commercial activities that produce an income or for public health and safety reasons. Water saving efficiencies are strongly encouraged for all businesses.

    • Nurseries, bowling greens and market gardens can use sprinklers for a maximum of 1 hour before 9am.

    • Landscaping and building industries can use water for masonry and construction activities. Tools and equipment must be cleaned in buckets.

    • Turf suppliers and gardeners can use a hose for 10 minutes before 9am OR after 4pm to establish gardens and lawns.

    • Commercial cleaning can use high pressure hoses and buckets can be used for general external cleaning.

    • Commercial vehicle washing and detailing, including emergency services, is permitted with buckets only.

    • All other businesses can use a handheld hose with cut-off trigger or control nozzle for up to 10 minutes during allotted times

    • Dust suppression is permitted with recycled water only. 

will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 35%:

  • all outside use of drinking water including water sprinklers, micro-sprays, fixed and hand-held hoses is banned
  • gardens can be watered with recycled water or tank water only
  • sporting fields and public gardens can use reycled water only
  • nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens may use water only under Council licence.

will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 25%:

  • as directed by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
  • all outside use of drinking water including water sprinklers, micro-sprays, fixed and hand-held hoses is banned
  • gardens can be watered with recycled water or tank water only
  • sporting fields and public gardens can use recycled water
  • nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens may only water under Council licence.

 

This page was last updated on: 18 June 2020