Restrictions flow in as the weir runs low
By PETER CATON IT was the news several hundred residents in the tiny Tweed village of Tyalgum had been dreading: tough water restrictions will come into force from Sunday. The village which relies on its own weir on Tyalgum Creek faces level two water restrictions from midnight Sunday because water flow in the creek at the weir has almost stopped. While the restrictions will not affect other areas of the shire, Tyaglum residents and businesses will not be banned from using sprinklers and hand-held hoses will be allowed only between 6pm and 8pm every second day. The washing of driveways, paved areas and roofs is to be banned except for health and safety reasons. "I was waiting for it," said publican of the Tyalgum Hotel Sue Kilcoyne. "We expected this because all the creeks have dried up. There's just nothing in some of them." But she said the village would cope as always because it was getting used to water restrictions every few years. Tweed Shire Council's water manager David Oxenham said if no significant rain fell and water quality continued to deteriorate in the weir, water would need to be carted from the main Murwillumbah supply at no charge to village residents. "At that stage all outdoor water usage would be banned, except for health and safety reasons," Mr Oxenham said. "This would be expected to occur around mid-September if conditions don't change." Tyalgum residents have been under water restrictions a number of times in the last few years. There are no general consumer restrictions in the rest of the Shire, however with Clarrie Hall Dam dropping at a rate of just over one per cent a week, they could be introduced about late November. Yesterday the dam was at 87 per cent capacity. The council last month banned the sale of town water supplies to areas outside the shire when the dam levels reached 90 per cent. Conservation groups have been complaining too little has been done too late to reduce shire wide water consumption and claim levels in local creeks and tributaries of the Tweed are already causing problems with stagnation and algae growth. The move to ban external water sales means local water carters are not allowed to truck mains water across the border to the Gold Coast where the swimming pool construction industry had been kept barely afloat on the provision of water from the Tweed.