The newly re-filled Tyalgum weir.
The newly re-filled Tyalgum weir.

RAIN REPRIEVE: The town that almost ran out of water

TYALGUM residents have been thanked for their efforts conserving water as Level 4 restrictions were lifted last week.

The refurbished village weir in Tyalgum is close to full from the recent rain.

The filling of the weir and other dams has also meant a delay in imminent restrictions for the rest of Tweed by 10 weeks.

Before the rain, the remainder of the region was about to move from Level 2 to Level 3 restrictions.

Tweed Shire Council's water and wastewater manager Anthony Burnham wrote to Tyalgum water customers thanking them, "You achieved the target of 126 litres per person per day and allowed council to supply the minimal amount of water to the village via tanker at the minimal cost to the ratepayer.

"Any less effort on your part would have cost the Tweed community more.

"You have experienced how close we came to the reality of running out of water.

"We know that the drought has not broken and without further follow-up rain, the river will fall again.

"While restrictions no longer apply, we encourage you to continue your good habits and keep taking action to make our limited water supply last as long as possible."

Mr Burnham said Tyalgum residents were a role model for the rest of the Tweed community.

"For Tyalgum residents the water crisis became an inescapable reality because the dry weir at the edge of the village was in clear view," he said.

"The harsh reality of no water was visible.

"We need to paint that picture for all Tweed residents - the reality is we can run out of  water."

Council has urged all Tweed residents to not water their gardens for the next two to three weeks but instead allow plants to access the available moisture in the soil from the recent rain.

It also has reminded customers with tanks connected to the town supply that the drought is not over and not to use the water in those tanks unnecessarily.

"Those tanks are connected to the town supply and in all probability have been topped up by the town supply since this drought began and, consequently, are under Level 2 restrictions and cannot be used outside permitted uses," Mr Burnham said.

"Enjoy the respite the rain has provided but do not lose sight of the fact that we are still on water restrictions and your water saving efforts will determine just how long we can stick to Level 2 and avoid the real pain of the harsher level 3 and 4 restrictions."

As part of the council's water saving message, a challenge has been issued to residents to switch off automatic outdoor watering systems and put away the garden hose for as long as possible.

"Please don't waste the rain that has delivered us a reprieve from introducing harsher water restrictions," Mr Burnham said.

"The rain has recharged soil moisture levels and tanks and may give the community false confidence that the water crisis is over. But it's not. We need another 300mm or more of follow-up rain in the catchment before we can lift water restrictions," he said.

"If everyone heeds the call to do more now to save water we can keep water restrictions at level 2 for longer and avoid the pain of the harsher level 3 and 4 restrictions."

Before the rain, the council's data suggested the average resident was not achieving the target water use of 144 litres per person per day under level 2 restrictions. To find out how to save water and water restrictions, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/savewaternow



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