Tweed’s water supply to run out by September
AN UNPRECEDENTED drought gripping the Tweed will see the region skip straight to Level 2 water restrictions because the shire risks running dry by next year.
The restrictions will be introduced from midnight on Thursday, December 12.
Mayor Katie Milne was the only councillor to vote against the restrictions in the last Tweed Shire Council meeting of the year on Thursday night.
She was concerned a proposed relaxation of environmental flow requirements for Bray Park Weir could impact wildlife.
Councillor Ron Cooper said he would "rather see a progression" of restrictions to avoid "disruption in the community" but he ultimately supported the move to Level 2.
Councillor James Owen said "we're going to run out of water by September next year if we don't get any rain".
"I just think that going to Level 2 isn't going to extend water life for much longer, but it sends a strong message to the community that we're in a very serious situation," he said.
The level of Clarrie Hall Dam is at 79 per cent and dropping 1.8 per cent capacity each week - faster than ever before.
Level 1 water restrictions for the Tweed District Water Supply and Uki normally take effect when the dam reaches 75 per cent.
It's the driest year on record for the shire - about 600mm has fallen and it's unlikely the drought will break by 2020.
The council also voted on Thursday night to introduce Level 3 water restrictions if the dam drops to 65 per cent capacity and Level 4 at 60 per cent capacity.
Cr Owen said it was important the council backed recommendations to submit a Building Better Regions Round 4 grant application for a water supply link with the Gold Coast.
"I suppose if the Gold Coast are out of water then they're not going to let it come to Tweed, but that's something we'll have to deal with at the time," he said.
"But this is a way to future proof and really build in that contingency for September next year, if we do run out of water, and hope then that the Gold Coast have enough water to be able to share with us."
The proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam is considered critical for the long-term water security of the shire, which has a booming population, forecast to grow by almost 34,000 people by 2036.
Councillor Reece Byrnes was absent from the council meeting and did note vote.