Questions and Answers
Level 3 Water Restrictions

Residential - How can water be used?

How can I water my garden and lawn under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • Sprinklers and fixed hoses are banned.
  • Watering cans and buckets can be used at any time when filled from a fixed tap.
  • One hand held hose for 1 hour, every second day, on “ odds & evens" days matching your house number.
  • During Daylight Saving Time (begins Sunday 5 October 2014):
    From 6:30am to 7:00am and 6:00pm to 6:30pm
  • Non Daylight Saving Time (ends Saturday 4 October 2014):
    From 6:30am to 7:00am and 5:00pm to 5:30pm.
  • Micro-spray watering systems can be used for 15 minutes only during your allotted time in addition to one hand held hose for 1 hour.
  • No garden watering on 31st day of the month.
  • Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • It is recommended that soil moisture be checked on each occasion to determine the need to operate any watering system.
  • These water restrictions apply to all homes, units, private connected or supplied by the town water supply.

What constitutes a cut-off trigger or control nozzle on a normal hose?

  • An approved water efficient nozzle is one which uses 9 litres of water per minute or less.
A cut-off trigger nozzle is a common hose attachment, which allows the hose user to turn the water spray on or off by depressing a handle or trigger.
A control nozzle is a common hose attachment, which allows the hose user to turn the water spray on or off by twisting the nozzle

Can I use my drip irrigation/micro-spray system to water my garden?

  • Yes. they can be used for 15 minutes only (in addition to one hand held hose for 1 hour), only during your allotted time.

How can I wash my car or boat under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • This can be carried out during your allocated hour instead of hosing your garden.
  • Wash with a bucket, hose rinse (only) preferably on a lawn or gravel area.
  • Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • Run-off water from this activity that enters any stormwater system or waterway, could incur penalties associated with pollution as defined under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 [POEO].
  • Council recommends the use of commercial car wash stations which use high pressure cleaning units, recycle water, collect and treat associated water pollution.

How can I flush my outboard motor under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • This is permitted at any time for 5 minutes preferably be undertaken on a lawn or gravel area.
  • Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • Run-off water from this activity that enters any stormwater system or waterway, could incur penalties associated with pollution as defined under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 [POEO].

Can windows, gutters, roofs, and walls be cleaned with a hose under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • No. These activities can only be conducted using a bucket filled from a fixed tap.

Can I clean my driveway or paths using a hose?

  • No, hoses cannot be used to clean a driveway or paths, unless it is required as a result of accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency. (Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle even during this time).
  • Brooms, vacuum cleaners or air blowers to be used to remove loose material.
  • No chemicals or cleaning products to be used.

Can I top up my pool and spa under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • Topping up of swimming pools and spas is permitted during allocated time only.
  • Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • Note: Ensure these activities are closely monitored to ensure that no overflow, or water wastage occurs. Such occurrences will be considered to be an offence and penalties will apply.
  • Council would encourage all pool owners/operators to minimise evaporation & water loss by installing a pool cover and to use rainwater collection from any adjacent roof down pipe to help reduce the need for topping up of the pool.

Can I empty and re-fill my pool under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • No. Pools may not be emptied unless required by Health Regulations or to repair leaks. Refilling of existing pools or filling of new pools will require an exemption.
  • Water Restriction Exemption Permit (also available from Customer Services)

Can I wash out my garbage bins?

  • Yes. Garbage bins can be washed during allocated time only, i.e. on "Odds & Evens" days matching house number. No domestic outside water use on 31st day of the month.
  • Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • This activity should preferably be undertaken on a lawn or gravel area, as any run-off water that enters any stormwater system or waterway, could incur penalties associated with pollution as defined under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 [POEO].

Can I wash my dog and other animals?

  • The washing of dogs and other animals is permitted at any time. This should preferably be undertaken on a lawn or gravel area. Hoses must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.

Can new turf be laid and watered?

  • Yes, however, an exemption is required to water new turf.  
  • Approval will provide a 10 day exemption to water new turf 1 hour per day before 7am OR after 6pm with hand held hose only. Hose must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger or control nozzle.
  • At the end of the 10 day period, Level 3 Restrictions apply. Watering cans and buckets can be used at any time when filled from a fixed tap.
  • Water Restriction Exemption Permit (also available from Customer Services)

I have access to bore water and/or water collected by rainwater tanks. Can I use this water under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • Yes, water used from a bore or rainwater tank is not subject to Council water restrictions. However, rainwater tanks that have top up from the potable water supply can only be used during your allocated time.
  • You need a current licence from the NSW Office of Water to use bore water. For online applications go to the website www.water.nsw.gov.au 

I am a resident of South West Rocks and I am connected to the South West Rocks recycled water scheme. When using this water am I exempt from the Water Restrictions

  • No. Kempsey Shire Council has not commenced operation of the recycled water scheme, so potable drinking water is still being supplied through the recycled water scheme. This system is expected to be operating by June 2014, and once operational then households utilising recycled water will be exempt from water restrictions whenever using the recycled water.

Can I use greywater or recycled water to water my garden?

What if I live in a block of units? What day can I use water on?

  • The numbering system for watering is based on the street number of your unit block not the individual unit or flat number. For example, Unit 1, No 2 Port Street can water on all the even days of the month i.e. 2nd, 4th, 6th etc.

Are exemptions to Level 3 Restrictions available?

  • No. The only exemptions available are for new turf and for the refilling of existing pools (emptied for repairs) or for filling of new pools.
  • Water Restriction Exemption Permit (also available from Customer Services)

Businesses and public spaces - How can water be used?

What Level 3 Water Restriction requirements have been introduced for the commercial, construction and building industries?

  • At this stage there are water restrictions being imposed on Commercial activities, including construction and building industries to ensure we minimise the effect on livelihoods. Water saving initiatives are encouraged along with keeping non essential water usage to a minimum.

Why have car washing businesses been allowed to operate during the water restrictions?

  • Commercial car washing businesses have been allowed to operate during the water restrictions as this is their livelihood. Kempsey car washes recycle most of their water on site , use low water volume high pressure cleaning units and also properly collect and treat associated pollutants.

I have seen the local car and caravan yards washing their vehicles, is this allowed under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • Car and caravan yards are currently able to wash their vehicles as this is part of their livelihood.
  • All hoses and high-pressure cleaning units must be fitted with a water cut-off trigger control or nozzle.
  • Council will be working closely with local car and caravan yard operators to ensure that such cleaning activities are conducted in accordance with the current water restriction levels.
  • All water usage and associated activities must not cause pollution as defined under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 [POEO].

I have seen shop owners and street cleaners hosing footpaths, is this allowed under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • In many cases there are genuine public health requirements to ensure the health and safety of the community.
  • Council will be working closely with contract cleaners and shop owners to ensure that such cleaning activities are conducted in accordance with the current water restriction levels.

How is Council ensuring that tourists do not waste water?

  • All accommodation facilities across the region and our tourist information centre will be provided with relevant information for visitors explaining their obligations under Mandatory Level 3 Water Restrictions.
  • Signage advising Water Restrictions is provided at all entry points to the Shire to advise visitors to the area.

Will beach showers be available for use under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • Under Level 3 Water Restrictions , the following public amenities will be maintained:
    • Outdoor showers will remain available and all outdoor showers have been fitted with low volume shower facilities.
    • Boat owners are being encouraged to either utilise commercial car washing facilities or flush motors and clean boats at home.

Can our local sporting fields be watered under Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • To continue to provide public amenity, sporting fields (including Council open space facilities) can be watered.  To reduce current water demands, a number of golf courses are already using Reclaimed Water for irrigation.

Breaches, penalties and reporting

What are the penalties for breaking the rules?

  • Under the relevant provisions of the Local Government Act & Regulations, Council is able to take legal action against a person or corporation found breaching restrictions. Customers who fail to comply with Council’s water restrictions can have their water supply restricted, face “On-The-Spot” fines and/or prosecution in the local district court.
  • The penalties include:
    • “On-The-Spot” fines of $220, and
    • Up to $2,200 fines, if prosecuted through the local district court.
  • In addition, the same penalties also apply for water theft and unauthorised access of water from Council’s mains and hydrants.

Will Council be conducting patrols to enforce Level 3 Restrictions?

  • Yes, Council staff are out and about every day and will be actively monitoring water usage both during the day and after hours.
  • Council will investigate all reported breaches of the water restrictions and conservation measures.
  • Council will continue to rely upon the public’s support and assistance in the monitoring of the water conservation measures by reporting any suspected breaches.

What do I do if I see someone wasting water or breaching the mandatory water conservation measures?

  • Contact Kempsey Council on 6566 3200 between 8am to 5pm to report any breaches of the current water restrictions. Anonymous calls cannot be followed up.

I have seen someone taking water from a fire hydrant. Is this permitted?

  • No, the only people approved to take water from fire hydrants, are members of the NSW and Rural Fire Brigades, who are actively engaged in the fighting of a fire.
  • Should you observe anyone accessing or drawing water from a fire hydrant, please immediately report this to Council on 6566 3200 between 8am to 5pm.

Background information on water restrictions

How does Council determine when to implement Water Restrictions and why have we adopted Level 3 Water Restrictions?

  • In order to determine the water restriction trigger levels, usable storage within our dam and aquifers, river flows, predicted weather forecasts and daily demands of the customers are all assessed to determine when to implement each level of Water Restrictions.
  • Warm weather conditions and minimal rainfall in the catchment have resulted in low river flows in the Macleay River. Current river flows have dropped below the environmental flow water restriction trigger level of 100 ML/d. For this reason Level 3 water restrictions have been implemented. Kempsey will continue to monitor these flows on a daily basis to determine the need for further changes in water restriction levels.  

    Although Kempsey Shire has experienced some rainfall over the past month, it is also worth keeping in mind that rainfall does not directly correlate to an increase in river level. Much summer rainfall is coastal in nature and rainfall in the upper catchment is required to impact river levels in the Macleay River.
  • In times of low water availability, water restrictions can reduce water demands and conserve the amount of water currently in storage. Community support to conserve our scarce water resources is critical.

When will the Level 3 Restrictions be lifted/eased?

  • Lifting or easing of Restrictions  will be recommended when  the river environmental flows have returned to above the 80th percentile trigger levels for a period of 7 days and there are sound forward projections of normal rainfall forecasted. Environmental river flows, are the minimum river flows, which must be preserved to maintain river health, for downstream river users and the aquatic environment.

Why was this time of day chosen for watering?

  • The time from 6:30am to 7:00am and 5pm to 5:30pm (6pm to 6:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time) was chosen as it is provides an efficient use of water and is not within the peak water demand periods.