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Council urges residents to be water wise this summer

Armidale Regional Council is reminding residents and businesses to be water wise this summer as water consumption reaches record levels.

As the dry weather continues to bite in our region Council’s water services team is experiencing a huge increase in water treatment through the plants in Armidale and Guyra. During January Armidale usually consumes on averages 14 million litres per day. For the last two weeks the plant has been operating for 22-24 hours a day with consumption going over  18 million litres per day for the first time since 2005. There has also been an increase in consumption in Guyra with dam levels dropping almost one percent a day and now at 80 percent capacity.

Armidale Regional Council’s Service Leader Business Units Phillip Perram says the current level of water consumption is concerning.

“Armidale region residents have been very fortunate over the years and have not experienced water shortages and restrictions, but if we keep using water at this rate and don’t receive any meaningful rain in the next couple of months we will have no choice but to implement restrictions in Guyra in mid February and in Armidale in mid March,” said Mr Perram.

“We are asking residents to be water wise including limiting the use of sprinklers on lawns and the frequency of watering gardens and take shorter showers. Every little bit helps to conserve water as well as reducing water bills.”

In the Armidale region an average person uses over 200 litres of water per day. In some communities people have reduced average personal use to 130 litres per day or less. Most household water use is outdoors, watering gardens and lawns. Indoors, the biggest water user is showers and baths.

In the garden

  • If you water your garden avoid the heat of the day when a high percentage of water is lost through evaporation
  • Use sprinklers or hoses in the early morning or evening. Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast. If there’s rain in the forecast, let the rain do your watering for you
  • Less frequent watering forces roots down to find water, making the plants less reliant on surface water and better able to stand hot, dry days. Many plants are much tougher than you think, consider native plants
  • Many people overestimate how much water their lawn needs. Grass is shallow rooted and rarely extends more than 25mm into the soil. Put more water than this on your soil and it’s not helping your lawn or your water bill
  • Mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70%. Mulch is like a blanket on the soil. It keeps the soil cool and it reduces evaporation because the soil is not exposed to dry air and drying winds

In the bathroom

  • About 40% of all water consumed in the home is used in the bathroom
  • 3-star rated showerheads use no more than 9 litres of water per minute, while old style showerheads use up to 20 litres per minute. If you shower for six minutes, a water efficient showerhead can save up to 50 litres of water for each shower or up to 20,000 litres of water per person per year. So take shorter showers to save water and money!

In the laundry

  • 15-20% of all water consumed in the home is used in the laundry. Major appliances and tap ware products carry labels according to their water efficiency
  • Only wash full loads
  • Look out for the WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) label - this is displayed on the product or a swing tag

Fixing leaks

  • Water can be wasted around the home due to leaking pipes and dripping taps
  • Check for leaks and take action now

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