The Bureau of Meteorology’s recent El Nino declaration and forecast less-than-average rainfall for the Northern Rivers has led Tweed Shire Council to urge residents to save water to prolong the region’s supply.
Council’s Water and Wastewater Business and Assets Manager, Michael Wraight said that without significant rain, the Tweed will head into water restrictions – with restrictions for Tyalgum looking likely in the next few weeks.
“We source our water from the Tweed River at Bray Park and Uki, plus the Oxley River at Tyalgum. The river flows are down and the weir pools at Bray Park and Tyalgum are drying up,” Mr Wraight said.
“While Clarrie Hall Dam is currently sitting at 98% capacity, it will now drop about 1 to 1.5% per week as we start releasing water to supply the Bray Park Weir – the source of water for most of the Shire.
“We will trigger level 1 water restrictions when the Clarrie Hall Dam level drops to 85%.
“Restrictions at Tyalgum will be introduced sooner. The flow of the Oxley River at Tyalgum is down to a trickle and the weir pool there is dropping fast.”
Mr Wraight called on Tweed locals to rally together to save water, especially outdoors, where water is typically used the most.
“Even when there are no water restrictions, Council encourages everyone in the Tweed to save water and meet Target 160: where every individual uses less than 160 litres of water per day. If each of us can meet this target and continue to do so, we can delay the need to impose water restrictions,” he said.
“The Tweed community has been doing a good job in recent weeks by almost meeting Target 160. Last week we used 170 litres per person per day, so we still have a way to go.
“There are actions we can all take to reduce our daily water use. From today, please clean hard outdoor surfaces with a broom rather than a hose, mulch your garden, keep your showers to four minutes, do full loads of washing and fix your water leaks.
“We all have the power to ensure our limited water supply lasts as long as possible.”
In 2020, Council permanently banned water carting from the Tyalgum and Uki water supply systems.
Whenever water restrictions are triggered, Council bans water carting from elsewhere in the Tweed to other local government areas.
Council is currently completing planning works for the proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam to increase the volume of water that can be stored, securing the Tweed’s water supply in the face of climate change and population growth.