Townsville floods. Ross River Dam from a helicopter. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Townsville floods. Ross River Dam from a helicopter. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Call to ease water restrictions after floods

WATER restrictions should be eased but not dropped entirely, Townsville councillor Paul Jacob says.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jenny Hill says the council's water and waste committee chair, Cr Russ Cook, has been working with their expert team to put together a report for the council to consider at its meeting ­tomorrow.

Cr Jacob was commenting after lodging a notice of ­motion with the council last week to have the city move from the current modified Level 2 ­restrictions to Level 1.

Under the council's water restriction policy, Level 1 ­allows people to use sprinklers from 5- 7am and 6-8pm twice a week on an odds and evens house number system, while handheld watering is permitted at any time.

The modified Level 2 also restricts the use of sprinklers to twice a week but does not allow use during the hours of 5-7am.

Cr Jacob, the city's water and waste committee chair ­before resigning from Mayor Jenny Hill's council team last year, said people in his division had approached him concerned they could only water their gardens during the evening hours.

"They said their gardens were suffering because of that, especially during these very hot days," Cr Jacob said.

"I'd like to implement a Level 1 system so people can have those extra two hours of watering a day. That would give people eight hours of ­watering (with sprinklers) a week."

The council introduced a modified or amended Level 2 last year after rain replenished levels in a depleted Ross River Dam.

But restrictions were maintained despite the water ­restriction policy indicating that no restrictions should be ­applied when the dam has more than 40 per cent ­capacity. It had reached almost 90 per cent at that time.

 

 

Cr Paul Jacob says water restrictions should be eased but not dropped entirely.
Cr Paul Jacob says water restrictions should be eased but not dropped entirely.

 

 

Cr Jacob said with the dam now at 100 per cent and ­increasing, water restrictions should be eased. But he did not support dropping restrictions entirely to have an "open slather" ­approach.

"Water is a precious ­resource. For the future we have to be very careful with our water consumption," Cr Jacob said. "We have already led by example in having a very good community education program.

"I don't want to go back to a situation where because the dam is at 100 per cent we can use as much water as possible."

Cr Jacob said the current restrictions did not adhere to the council's water restriction policy, which should be changed.

He said Level 1 restrictions would also help people cleaning their homes.

"What Level 1 allows us to do, it gives people the right to water hard surfaces," Cr Jacob said. "Unless you have a ­gurney you can't do driveways or anything."

The current amended Level 2 restrictions say washing hard surfaces is permitted with pressure washers.

Cr Jacob has lodged a notice of motion ahead of the council's ordinary meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

Cr Hill said last month that the council hoped to review the water restrictions, depending on the dam level at the end of the recent rain event, which caused widespread flooding.

According to the council's website, the dam reached ­almost 250 per cent capacity.

"Townsville Water and Waste Committee chair Cr Russ Cook has been working with our expert team to put together a report for councillors to consider at the council meeting on Tuesday," Cr Hill said. "A number of options for water restrictions will be considered to ensure our city has a secure water supply until the new (Haughton) pipeline is built."