Debate heats up over water ban hours

A RECOMMENDATION to push back the hours of restricted watering across the Tamworth region during summer months has been defeated.

Under the proposal, two-hour watering limits under restricted rules would have begun an hour later at 7pm in the months of December, January and February, in order to maximise water efficiency.

The matter divided the ranks of Tamworth Regional councillors, who engaged in a lengthy and passionate discussion preceding the vote at Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting.

A letter, signed by 22 Nundle residents, requested council review the hours restricted watering was allowed as current conditions between 6pm and 8pm were too hot for both people and plants to be watered.

The group suggested 6am to 8am as an alternative, but this was deemed impractical for residents in full-time employment, according to council’s business report.

“If we are truly serious about managing our water, then we should be looking at 7pm to 9pm,” deputy mayor Russell Webb stressed to his fellow councillors.

“At 6pm it is too hot to be watering so we are not getting the best use of our water during those hours. We would get a lot better use between the hours of 7 and 9pm.”

However, an adamant Cr James Treloar strongly advised against the move, saying the status quo was preferable to avoid unnecessary confusion.

“We have enough problems during winter with the watering between 5pm and 7pm because you will hear every time ‘it’s too late and I don’t want to be out in the garden at 6 o’clock at night’,” he said.

“Now you are telling people to stay out in the garden till 9pm. You’ll have hoses left on because people will forget about them, they go to bed, they get the television on ... and you’ll end up with more water wasted.”

Cr Phil Betts said his “main driver” for voting against the motion was concerns for the elderly who may fear having to water the garden late at night, while Cr Tim Coates suggested watering times should be fixed at 6pm to 8pm all year round to avoid disadvantaging people who have to travel for work.

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