’Not enough water to meet demand’ in village
NIMBIN residents could soon be placed under harsher water restrictions and are being urged to be frugal with consumption, as town levels continue to fall.
Nimbin's current water supply is sourced from Mulgum Creek and is operated by Lismore City Council whereas the water supply for the rest of Lismore Local Government Area is sourced from Rocky Creek Dam and operated by Rous County Council.
At the moment, there is still a flow of water in Mulgum Creek into the weir that supplies Nimbin with its town water, but Lismore City Council has revealed "it is not enough to meet total demand".
Nimbin resident Natasha Tiffany raised the alert on dropping levels, taking to Nimbin Hook Ups Facebook page to post "there is no water flow at Nimbin weir… the water is about a foot below the wall on the other side".
The village is now partly reliant on DE Williams Dam, which provides storage in times of drought and currently, the depth of the dam is variable depending on flows of water in Mulgum Creek, extraction rates from the weir and consumption.
The council's strategic water and sewer engineer, Rod Haig, said depending on extraction rates from the weir and consumption levels, it was likely that higher water restrictions will be implemented soon.
"Implementing more severe water restrictions is dependent on several factors, the two primary ones being the level of consumption in the village and the rate of drop in the dam," Mr Haig said.
"Extraction rates from the weir can be varied and levels in the weir will rise and fall accordingly. Consequently, at times, the weir is still being overtopped."
He said operational staff were balancing the need to manage storage and depth at the weir, while maximising storage within DE Williams Dam and also maintaining flows in the creek for use by downstream properties.
"The important message for residents is that they should take all measures possible to limit their water use," he said.
"Levels of water consumption in the village will be a significant factor in determining the rate of drop in the dam and the period of time that the weir and dam can continue to provide a supply of water to customers.
The council is currently investigating the use of an existing bore located on land owned by the council, or drilling of a new water bore, to increase the capacity of the water supply.
"As a last resort, trucking of water to Nimbin would be undertaken. Every effort is being made to avoid this needing to be done," Mr Haig said.
"If a suitable bore is found, this scenario is likely to be avoided.
"The main message for customers of the Nimbin water supply is that they should be wise in their use of water and do all that they can do to reduce their consumption.
"They must definitely abide by water restrictions in place at any time."
Under Level 2 water restrictions residents:
• Can only use micro-sprays and drippers/sub-surface irrigation for a maximum of 15 minutes
• Hand-held hoses with an on-off nozzle can only be used for half an hour every second day, between the hours of 4pm and 9am on odd or even days matching your house number.
• Other irrigation, such as sprinklers, and unattended hoses are banned.
• Filling of new swimming pools is permitted, but topping up is allowed only between 4pm and 9am using a hand-held house with one-off nozzle.
• Top up of fountains and water features is not permitted except to maintain fish life.
• Washing of driveways, paved areas, walls, windows, roofs and paths permitted prior to sale or lease of property only with council approval. Not permitted for any other reason, except for health and safety. Must use high-pressure/low-flow rate cleaner
• Washing of cars permitted with buckets or hand-held hose for ten minutes only between 4pm and 9am on odd and even days matching your house number.
The same restrictions apply to commercial premises with the exceptions that:
• Sprinklers can be used for up to 30 minutes per day for sports fields between 5am and 7am.
• Market gardens, orchards, nurseries can use sprinklers or sprays for one hour a day between 5am and 7am, or 5pm and 7pm.
For a Q&A on the restrictions, water hints and tips, and a fact sheet visit www.lismore.nsw.gov.au.