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Water restrictions and conservation

From time to time council changes water restrictions to manage sustainable urban water supply. Restriction levels are communicated on a range from zero to four, with zero being the lowest and four the highest restriction level. The level for individual towns is based on a number of indicators, including the capacity and level of the towns’ water supply and detailed in the Water Restrictions Procedure. 

The restrictions do not apply to greywater, rainwater or private bore water and properties with their own water allocation or licences.

Complete details on water restriction guidelines, including washing vehicles, cleaning and commercial restrictions.

TownRestriction levelLast changeWater supply source
Anakie, Rubyvale, Sapphire017/07/2020Bore
Capella017/07/2020Capella Creek & Tieri pipeline
Comet017/07/2020Comet River, Comet Weir
Dingo017/07/2020Dingo/ Springton Creek
Duaringa017/07/2020Dawson River
Lower Dawson scheme/ SunWater
Emerald, Blackwater, Bluff117/07/2020Fairbairn Dam, Selma/ Emerald town weir
Nogoa Mackenzie scheme SunWater
Rolleston017/07/2020Comet River & semi-artesian bore
Springsure017/07/2020Semi-artesian bore
Tieri017/07/2020Fairbairn Dam, Bedford Weir
Nogoa Mackenzie scheme SunWater

Water restriction guides

  • Water-saving tips and tricks

    Find more at Smart Water Advice – the one-stop-shop for water efficiency.

  • Frequently asked questions

    How are water restriction levels determined?

    The level of Fairbairn Dam near Emerald is used as an indicator for water restrictions because it is connected to the Nogoa Mackenzie water scheme that Emerald, Blackwater, Bluff and Tieri rely on for their water supply.

    Rolleston gets its water from the Comet River. It’s water restrictions are determined by the capacity of the Ring Tank.

    Capella is supplied with water from three sources – a system of bores, surface water runoff, water that is harvested from Capella Creek during times of flood flows and from a drought relief pipeline that was constructed from Tieri.

    Its restrictions are determined by the capacity of the water storage facilities.

    What is the current level of the Fairbairn Dam?

    You can check the current level of the dam by visiting the Sunwater website.

    How does the council get its water?

    Every year on 1 July, the council is allocated an amount of water to use to supply the community from the Fairbairn Dam by SunWater.

    If I pay rates, don’t I have the right to use water?

    Owners of property connected to the water supply pay an annual charge and a consumption charge.

    The annual charge is the cost for the council to provide water to the property whether or not any water is actually used.

    The consumption charge is calculated from the amount of water actually used at the property.

    How important is the community water supply?

    Supplying water for people to use is what is referred to as ‘high priority’.

    Other high priority water users are an industry that is vital to the economy of the state and region—employs a lot of people and earns money for the state—such as coal mines.

    Am I an odd or even-numbered property?

    Whether you are an ‘even’ or ‘odd’ numbered property influences your watering days.

    Property addresses are categorised as ‘even’ if:

    • The number of property within the street is an even number. If you live in a unit, it is the number of your unit block that counts, not the number of your unit. E.g. 4 Simon Street or Unit 3/14 Simon Street.
    • There is no allocated street number and the property’s lot number is an even number. E.g Lot 4 Simon Road.
    • The property address includes more than one street number and the first number is even. E.g. 4 – 7 Simon Road.

    The same guidelines apply to categorise ‘odd-numbered’ properties (swap the word ‘even’ for the word ‘odd’).

    What is the council doing to save water?

    The council has reduced its use of water on parks, gardens and playing fields considerably.

    A water-use monitoring system has been implemented requiring monthly water-use reports to be submitted to the council for each facility being watered.

    What about the Emerald Botanic Gardens?

    The Emerald Botanic Gardens is a public park of regional significance.

    It is enjoyed by hundreds of people every day and is a wonderful oasis for residents and tourists.

    As such, the botanic gardens, which is watered with raw water from the Nogoa River, will have watering reduced in some parts, but will be maintained in the best condition possible given the circumstances.

    What is more important – a coal mine or a town?

    They are both equally important. Coal mines employ many people who live in nearby towns.

    Without the town water, there would be no people to work in the mines and without the mines, there would be many fewer people to live in the town.

    This is why the council and industries that share the water work closely together to make sure the water supply is secure.

    What are industries like mining and cotton farming doing to save water?

    Water supply to industries and crop farming is managed by Sunwater.

    Sunwater works closely with their customers, including council, industries and farmers, to carefully manage water allocation to support ongoing water security and business confidence.

    Remember, these companies and their employees are a part of our community too and recognise the need to conserve water.

    How many water restriction levels are there?

    There are five water restriction levels (0,1,2,3 and 4) in the Central Highlands.

    Do I need to have a sign on the front fence if I’m watering lawns with greywater or tanks?

    While not mandatory, it is a good idea to have a sign, so others are aware.

    Can I install a water tank? 

    Yes, please visit our rainwater tank information page and give our plumbing team a call on 1300 242 686.

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