Level two water restrictions will be in place across the Yass Valley from midnight on Sunday (19 January), one month after level one restrictions were introduced due to the worsening drought.
Yass Dam levels are currently at 72 per cent, compelling the Council to implement extra water-saving measures sooner than anticipated.
Level two water restrictions mean that watering of gardens in private residences will be limited, and the hosing of hard surfaces is banned unless it is an emergency. Vehicles can only be washed on grassed areas no more than once a fortnight using buckets and a hose with a trigger nozzle.
Swimming pools cannot be emptied without approval but refilling without approval is allowed if the pool is covered when not in use.
Yass Valley Council’s Director of Engineering Stan Robb says extended periods of heat across NSW have resulted in dam levels dropping quicker than expected, making level two restrictions necessary.
“This is a few weeks earlier than we had first hoped due to a combination of record heat extremes, continuing drought and a much faster rate of water evaporation,” Mr Robb said.
“Evaporation from the dam surface plays a big part in the amount of water available for treatment into drinking water. During hot, windy days, evaporation from the surface of the Yass Dam increases.
“With the current climatic conditions pointing to one of the driest, hottest periods on record, evaporation from the dam is only likely to increase over longer periods. This impacts the level of water in the dam, which in turn plays a significant part in determining the level of water restrictions that need to be in place.”
According to the council, about 50 per cent of water leaving the dam is due to evaporation, and while cooler temperatures and rain has been forecast, it will not be enough to provide the level of run-off water required to significantly increase dam levels.
Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey says water supply and security is paramount as record temperatures and low rainfall have impacted towns across the country.
“Council has cut back on watering local sporting fields, parks and open spaces and residents can also help make water savings through simple measures,” she said.
“We have not had water restrictions in Yass for seven years and habits are hard to break.
“Many of us have not had to deal with a lot of the restrictions we are now facing since the Yass Dam Wall was raised so it is a challenge for us all.”
A full list of what level two water restrictions mean for you can be found on the Yass Valley Council website at https://www.yassvalley.nsw.gov.au