Malpas Dam will run out of water in October next year, unless it rains before then, and certainly if we continue using our water at the rate we are now.
Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law said Armidale is using about 220 litres per person per day. It is a figure that needs to drop and a cause for concern to council.
"Residents changing their water use and reducing their water consumption is the single biggest thing we can do to make a difference right now."
Mrs Law said we need a daily usage rate of about 160 litres per person.
"That's about six buckets full per person per day," she said.
"We are still well above the State average, and the Victorian state usage criteria is 155 litres, even when there is no drought.
"I think one of the things we're having to get our head around is the fact that we do have a drought situation. It is not something people, particularly in Armidale city, are used to."
Mrs Law thought Armidale city still considered itself invulnerable to drought.
"We are very much in drought," she said.
"Day zero isn't all that far away, so we have to take all the actions that we can to eke out all the water we have.
"We now have a hydrogeologist on board. He's about to start work looking for groundwater of sufficient quality and quantity to use for domestic purposes only."
Level 5 restrictions will apply in Armidale in January next year.