SOME councillors believe there should be a tougher enforcement of water restrictions in Tamworth, as the city’s supplies continue to drain rapidly.
Tamworth Regional Council has asked its residents to conserve water, to varying degrees across the region, but at Tuesday night’s meeting Charles Impey said people breaking the rules should be whipped into line sooner.
“Should it take four breaches before there’s a really serious consequence; before somebody is in serious hot water for want of a better term” Cr Impey said.
“It just seems odd we give so many chances for people to do the right thing.”
The council’s water director Bruce Logan said the current system was devised to help discourage neighbours from using potential council fines as a weapon in “neighbourly disputes”.
Juanita Wilson said she’d received a lot of feedback asking why the council didn’t enforce restrictions sooner.
She suggested the council’s lowest tier of restrictions, permanent conservation measures, should be renamed level one.
“I know it’s only terminology, but it makes a difference,” Cr Wilson said.
“If we call it level one, people would be more understanding and more aware.”
On Wednesday morning, Chaffey Dam had fallen to 32.6 per cent capacity with the level three restrictions for the city triggered at 30 per cent.
Water NSW has been releasing about 190 megalitres a day from Chaffey Dam, according to its most recent report, which has been one of the main factors behind the dam’s rapid drainage.
The council’s water sustainability officer Ian Lobban said in his report tabled at Tuesday’s meeting advice had been received from Water NSW that in stream losses in the Peel River are at 100 per cent.
This meant for every one megalitre of water needed for the city, two megalitres of water had to be released to ensure one megalitre reached the council’s pumping point in Calala.
Irrigators will have access to 36 per cent of their general security licenses until July 1, unless there is intervention from the NSW water minister.
However, the council has asked the state government whether it has, or will, increase monitoring to ensure compliance.
“Water released from the dam and extracted outside license entitlements is water that could have been stored for other uses, including Tamworth’s,” Mr Lobban’s report said.