TOWN water users could be on level one restrictions before the end of the year if a decent downpour does not eventuate soon.
Level one water restrictions are implemented in Tamworth, Moonbi and Kootingal once Chaffey Dam falls below 40 per cent capacity.
The dam’s capacity fell below its halfway mark for the first time in a number of years this week, but it is up in the air as how long it’ll take for the next 10 per cent to dry up.
Council water director Bruce Logan said it was difficult to know when restrictions would need to be enforced.
“There is no simple answer to when the dam will reach the trigger for level one water restrictions,” Mr Logan said.
“There are many variables - it depends on rainfall and the amount of water being used by all customers of the dam including council.”
The most recent projections from Water NSW, which operates the dam, suggested at minimum inflow levels, the storage level will fall to 40 per cent in late December or early next year.
However, it appears residents have tightened their usage slightly over the past month, with the average daily consumption for the Tamworth water supply at 21.6 megalitres.
This compares to a daily average consumption of 25 megalitres for the same period in 2017.
Mr Logan said in recent years there has been a noticeable shift among residents and business to be more sustainable with their water use.
“Our community has embraced council’s water conservation education programs over the past 10 years and we have truly become the water-wise region,” he said.
“The evidence is that while Tamworth’s population has increased, since 1996 there has not been an increase in the total amount of water we use.”
This is the first time Chaffey Dam has been below 50 per cent capacity since August 2016.