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Water restrictions tighten as the big dry continues

Trae Wilson checking out the declining weirpool at North Bourke. Photo TWH

Bourke Shire Council has tightened water restrictions for Bourke and North Bourke as the Darling River continues to drop.

Town water services and evaporation are the two main users once the river drops below the weir crest level, with evaporation dominating during the summer months. The river level has now dropped below 3.5 metres, the point at which council declares level 2 water restrictions.

Bourke Shire Council Acting General Manager Leonie Brown said the declining river levels gave council no option but to increase the restrictions.

“We had to introduce the Level 2 restrictions from midnight on Sunday,” Mrs Brown said.

“The river level dropped to below 3.5 metres which is when we apply level 2 restrictions. That is disappointing, but that’s what we have to do.

“The restrictions are not a lot different to Level 1 other than watering only being allowable for one hour a day for sprinklers from 7am to 8am or from 7pm to 8pm.

“Hand-held sprinklers can still be used at other times,” Mrs Brown said.

Residents had a nine-month respite from water restrictions, but the river stopped flowing over the weir on 9th November – which is the trigger for restrictions to be re-imposed.

Bourke reached Level 4 restrictions at the height of the drought last year and securing water supplies to the town has been a major focus of funding applications over the past two years.

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