The Southern Downs Regional Council has this week issued a statement saying it will “step-up” enforcement measures “to ensure residents are adhering to current high level water restrictions and to protect the community’s precious water supply”.
But the restrictions will still stay at the current ‘high’ level for now rather than moving to ‘extreme’, the highest restrictions.
“SDRC will be actively enforcing high level water restrictions after monthly water consumption targets were exceeded across the region in both January and February,” the statement said.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said water is the region’s most precious commodity and the way we use and conserve it is vital to our region’s ongoing resilience as the drought continues.
“The Southern Downs has received little to no rainfall in February and the region’s dam levels continue to decrease,” she said.
“As of last week, Leslie Dam was at 7.45 % capacity while Storm King was at 44% and Connolly Dam was at 46% capacity.
“Current water restrictions and enforcement will apply to all residents, including rural, who purchase water from council.
“It will also apply to both raw water and drinking water consumers.”
Cr Dobie said she urged the community “to be vigilant with water consumption as drought conditions continue to worsen”.
“Everyone can make a difference,” she said.
“While it would be council’s preference not to issue any fines, water supplies are now at a level which means we need to ensure residents are complying with water restrictions and meeting daily consumption targets.
“Our priority is the continued supply of drinking water for residents across the region and we will keep the community informed with any updates or changes.”
Cr Dobie said an increased number of council officers and water patrols will monitor residents’ usage and issue fines where necessary to residents who continue to breach water restrictions.
“SDRC is working with local businesses to help them reduce their water consumption and conserve water, and is currently reviewing all aspects of Council’s recycled water supply,” she said.
“SDRC is stepping-up compliance as it finalises plans to move to extreme level water restrictions in the coming weeks should there be no rain.
“Penalties for breaching water restrictions depend on severity of the non-compliance starting at $391 for residential customers and $1,958 for non-residential customers.
“Council will continue to work with the community and provide warnings to those residents who breach water restrictions in the first instance.
“The Southern Downs is currently on high level water restrictions which means residents may only use water outside for certain purposes between 6 to 7pm on allocated days.
“The maximum target for each household is 170 litres per person per day – around 19 household buckets.”