LEVEL 2 water restrictions will start across the Lower Hunter in January, with the area's dams falling to their lowest level in almost 40 years, Water Minister Melinda Pavey has announced.
If ongoing dry conditions continue as predicted, the Level 2 restrictions will begin on January 20, Mrs Pavey said on Monday morning, ahead of a media briefing by Hunter Water officials.
It will be the first time Level 2 restrictions have been in place since the 1980s drought, Mrs Pavey said.
It comes after the region experienced its first water restrictions in 25 years when Level 1 restrictions came into force on September 16.
Hunter Water's storages have dropped to 57.9 per cent capacity, the lowest since July 1980.
"The Lower Hunter's dams are declining at a rapid rate of about one per cent each week due to a lack of decent rainfall and high evaporation," Mrs Pavey said on Monday.
Under Level 2 water restrictions, outdoor watering is limited to 15 minutes every second day, vehicles and buildings can only be washed with a bucket, and showers are limited to four minutes.
Hunter Water's executive drought lead Darren Cleary said he was hopeful Level 2 water restrictions would build on the significant savings already made by the community following the introduction of water restrictions three months ago.
"Since the start of Level 1 water restrictions, our community has used 17 per cent less water than what we expected, given the weather conditions - the average water use of approximately 62,000 households over the same period," Mr Cleary said.
"We've been working closely with our large business customers who use more than 10 million litres of water a year to develop Water Efficiency Management Plans. This will soon be expanded to our smaller business customers as they start preparing their own plans.
"Thank you to everyone in our community for playing their part to save water, because your efforts are helping make a difference."
For more information on Level 2 water restrictions visit, www.hunterwater.com.au/restrictions