DESPITE some rain in recent weeks bringing much-needed positivity, the drought is far from broken and, as such, the Muswellbrook Shire Council (MSC) has approved Level 2 water restrictions.
They initiated Level 1 for Denman and Muswellbrook in July last year.
However, with Glenbawn Dam - which feeds into the region's primary water source, the Hunter River - dropping over 12 per cent since that time MSC decided further action was required.
The move, which was approved at Tuesday's council meeting on February 11, is scheduled to start on March 2.
It will also bring them into line with the Lower Hunter who follows the instructions of state-owned organisation Hunter Water.
That group has been heavily advertising Level 2 restrictions, which have also been airing in the Upper Hunter.
MSC believes than on top of adapting to the dryer water sources in the area, the shift will clear up some confusion from residents who have been unsure how conservative they are meant to be with their usage.
The council has pledged to not drop back to Level 1 until Hunter Water does, although if deemed necessary they will remain or lift their restrictions to a higher level than the organisation recommends.
MSC general manager Fiona Plesman said she was confident people would understand why the change was being made, and added she was pleased with how they responded to last year's regulations.
"The Muswellbrook Shire community has applied Level 1 water restrictions magnificently," she stated.
"Our water usage has dropped considerably which has allowed us to provide free water to farmers across the Upper Hunter.
"So, water that has been saved has been distributed."
There will be a temporary prohibition of legislative enforcement until April 6.
The Singleton and Upper Hunter Shire councils are expected to follow suit in coming months.
Level 2 water restrictions will require homes and businesses to:
- Only water every second day, before 10 am and after 4 pm using a hose with a trigger nozzle for up to 15 minutes in total for the day (the day will be determined by your address, eg. for 12 Smith Street you would only be allowed to water on even dates in a month, while 13 Smith Street would water on odd days);
- Bucket wash vehicles and buildings;
- Have maximum four minute showers;
- Not hose hard surfaces such as concrete, paths, and driveways;
- Not use sprinklers or irrigation systems;
- Ensure all hoses have a trigger nozzle; and
- Repair dripping taps and leaking toilets.
And business customers to:
- Prepare water efficiency management plans; and
- Implement water efficiency management plans if they are a large customer.
Addition information can be found at the Hunter Water website.