GAME CHANGER: Water restrictions drop to zero
Increased water levels in Emerald’s Fairbairn Dam has brought more good news for the region, with the reduction of water levels for three Central Highlands communities.
Emerald, Blackwater and Bluff water restrictions eased from level 1 to level 0 on Wednesday, following the dam’s increase to above 21 per cent capacity.
Central Highlands Regional Council made the decision after assessing the water levels and deeming inflows enough to enable the relaxation.
Mayor Kerry Hayes said it was great to see levels rise following two “historically dry” summers.
“The optics are great because if you've been looking over the summer at a reservoir that’s notionally down to 8.5 per cent, it’s a big piece of infrastructure with a tiny bit of water in it,” Cr Hayes said.
“It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t look prosperous for our region.
“Certainly the rainfall that‘s fallen in the last four to six weeks has been a real game changer.”
Cr Hayes said Sunwater changed water allocations to 66 per cent which meant some of those croppers that speculated on their crop, they actually now had sufficient water to finish.
Level 0 restrictions double the time period in which residential lawns and gardens can be watered with a sprinkler to a four – hour window in the morning (5-9am) and evening (7-11pm).
Allocated watering days continue for residential properties, where odd-numbered houses water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and even-numbered houses water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Restrictions do not apply to alternative water sources used for external use, such as rainwater, grey water or private bores.
Restrictions also do not apply to properties with their own water allocations or water licenses.
While eased water restrictions bring more flexibility, Cr Hayes says it was important for water users to remain water conscious and continue implementing smart water habits.
Council will continue to monitor the water storage levels in accordance with its water restrictions guideline.