Drought Initiatives

What we have been doing to help reduce water consumption in our region.

Residential Plumber's Audit Rebate

Council is now offering rebates to residential customers so they can pay a reduced price for a plumber to undertake an audit of their premises to:

  • analyse consumption against size of property and number of occupants
  • identify leaks
  • find potential areas of waste or inefficiency that could be corrected
  • test current water appliances and products
  • provide advice on upgrading water usage devices such as flow restrictors, toilets, rainwater tanks, hot water return systems, greywater reuse, etc.

Residents will be provided with a rebate of up to $100 once proof (e.g. invoice) that a general water audit has been conducted at their residential property by a licensed plumber has been received by Council.

For more information on the steps to take to get your Plumber's Audit Rebate and a full list of T&C's visit https://bit.ly/30lgJlk

Residential Water Saver Rebate Scheme

Through its Residential Water Saver Rebate Scheme, Council is offering financial assistance to residents who install waterwise products in and around their home.

Council will pay up to 50% of the purchase/installation cost or a maximum of the following amounts on these products:

3-star showerhead  $20
3-star dual flush toilet $150
Swimming pool cover $100
2-5 kilolitre rainwater tank $250
5 kilolitre or above rainwater tank                                              $500                                                                                         

For more info visit https://bit.ly/31Vkmia

Tank, Bore or Greywater System Inspections

Council conducts rainwater tank and bore inspections for those residents who have access to these alternate supplies. Once a site has been inspected by a Council staff member, Council approved signs are issued to the resident to display when these alternate water sources are being used. This display of signage helps to communicate to other residents what is happening and in turn curbs unnecessary complaints to Council.

To book a tank inspection visit https://bit.ly/31UFLYU

Bulk Water Refill Stations

We have installed 9 Bulk Water Filling Stations across the Council area. The project aims to give the community access to large volumes of potable water in our region available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Public access to Bulk Water Filling Stations is determined by the current level of Water Restrictions within any water supply. Public access is not permitted whenever a water supply is at Level 4 or Level 5 Water Restrictions. At these Water Restrictions, supply is limited to registered Domestic Water Carters only.

For more information head to https://bit.ly/2Zpx6fm

Large Water User Audits

Auditors from Smart Water Advice spent six weeks conducting site visits and consumption analysis of 53 of the region’s Large Water Users (LWUs). These LWUs are defined as any business, commercial or industrial operation consuming in excess of 3.5 Megalitres per annum. Audited businesses received a report outlining:

  • water use and performance
  • benchmarking
  • water use breakdown
  • audit findings
  • existing water saving measures
  • potential water saving opportunities
  • water saving actions and their cost
  • potential savings in kilolitres per day
  • cost savings in water per year
  • payback period

The aim of these audits is to provide local businesses with information on how they can optimise their operations to be as water efficient as possible.

Reuse of backwash water at Calala Water Treatment Plant

A key part of the water treatment process is the backwashing of water treatment filters. Excess water from this process is currently utilised as part of Council’s recycled water scheme within the AELEC precinct to for the irrigation of AELEC, synthetic hockey fields, Sportsdome and athletics track.

Given the colder weather and on site water use reductions at these sites, not all this water is not being used. In the past the excess water would be discharged to Goonoo Goonoo Creek in accordance with a NSW EPA license.

Rather than discharge to Goonoo Goonoo Creek, Council is now returning this water to the head of the treatment plant where it is retreated to drinking quality. This project has cost less than $5,000 by modifying existing pumping and piping infrastructure on site.

Storage Tank at Manilla

Manilla has access to water from both the Manilla River (water released from Split Rock Dam) and the Namoi River. Currently the water in the Manilla River has to be pumped from the Manilla River in the Namoi River to be used as part of the Manilla town water supply. This is an inefficient method due to transmission losses in both rivers. With the ongoing drought conditions and no flow in the Namoi River, the water quality is reducing in the Namoi River. This means Council is pumping good quality water from the Manilla River into poor quality water which is leading to a more costly and difficult water treatment process.

To solve these issues Council is in the process of installing a storage tank at the Namoi River weir. This tank will be connected directly to the Manilla River pump station pipeline and will also be directly connected to the pumps that deliver water to the treatment plant. This means that water will be transferred directly from the Manilla River to the water treatment plant, solving both of the issues mentioned above.

Reuse of backwash water in Barraba

Currently in Barraba, water used for backwashing filters is stored on site in lagoons. Council is in the process of finalising an upgraded backwash water system which will allow backwash water to return to the head of the treatment plant at the Barraba Water Treatment Plant. In the meantime Council has been utilising this water for road construction and maintenance to further offset potable water use in Barraba.

Automated Meter Readers

AMR’s will be fitted to properties that receive three restriction breach warnings that is referred to compliance. AMR's allow for easy and regular (as regular as 15 minutes) meter reading meaning Council can see when there are peaks in water consumption.

Water Restriction Patrols

Council compliance staff have been conducting regular patrols around the region, issuing fines when they see residents breaching water restrictions. Staff respond to reports, where possible, that come in from residents about other residents breaching water restrictions. They also issue fines when they witness and confirm residents are breaching water restrictions.