If it doesn’t rain soon, an Upper Hunter town is expected to run out of water before Christmas.
With work on the touted $14.5m water pipeline that will stretch 14km from Scone set to start any day now, Murrurundi residents are battling through the harshest water restrictions possible.
The drought that’s now got all of NSW in its grip has town water running desperately low.
Upper Hunter shire mayor Wayne Bedggood said, if it didn’t rain soon, Murrurundi faced the expensive prospect of having water carted into town indefinitely, which would put added pressure on supplies where that water would be trucked from – Scone.
But given construction of the pipeline isn’t expected to be complete until at least 2020, Cr Bedggood said there was no other choice unless the region got consistent downpours for several weeks.
“We have, I would say, roughly three months of water left there if everything stays as is,” he said.
“If we have rainfall, obviously that will extend out a little bit.”
Saturday will be a month since Murrurundi moved to level six water restrictions – the tightest possible.
It has meant residents have not been allowed to wash cars, water lawns or gardens, top up pools, spas or water features, wash down walls or paved surfaces.
Residents are each allowed a three minute shower or bath with up to 100mm of water in it a day and each household can wash two full loads of clothes per week.
Cr Bedggood said council was drilling bores around Murrurundi in search of suitable ground water to make to existing supply last longer.
He said the town had got an extra eight to 12 months out of the supply through the use of a micro-filtration system.
But Cr Bedggood said residents were “living in the hope of rain”.
“At the end of the day, the only real solution is rain,” he said. “We need inches per week, consistently, for several weeks.”