Garden sprinklers and watering lawns in the midday heat will be banned from today as the Lower Hunter wakes up to its first water restrictions in 25 years.
Residents whose houses are connected to the Hunter Water network can water their lawns, but only before 10am and after 4pm with a trigger nozzle on the hose.
Drip irrigation systems are also banned between 10am and 4pm.
Other level-one restrictions include hosing off paths and driveways, leaving an unattended hose running to top up a pool, and washing cars or boats without a trigger nozzle.
The limits apply in and around Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Dungog and small parts of Singleton.
Grahamstown Dam, the region's biggest water store, is at 62.8 per cent capacity.
The storage level across the Hunter, including at Chichester Dam and Tomago and Anna Bay sand beds, is 63.7 per cent but is forecast to plummet to 40 per cent by March if rainfall remains low.
Hunter Water has said level-two restrictions could be in place by December. These limit outdoor watering to every second day and showers to four minutes.
Level 1 water restrictions guidelines
- Outdoor watering is permitted before 10am or after 4pm with a trigger nozzle hose
- All hand held hoses must have a trigger nozzle
- No hosing of hard surfaces such as concrete, paths and driveways
- All vehicles should be washed with a bucket, trigger nozzle hose or pressure cleaner
- No sprinklers are to be used
Hunter Water customers use about 190 litres of water per person each day, which is about 10 to 20 per cent more than in other areas like the Central Coast, Melbourne and south-east Queensland.
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that 70 per cent of participants at two recent Hunter Water forums on water security were open to the government building new dams.
Upper Hunter residents have been on water restrictions since June.
Murrurundi is on level-six restrictions and has been trucking in supplies.
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