Water restriction increase, fire ban extended as conditions remain bad

A CENTRAL Queensland council has increased water restrictions for one town as Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) extends the fire ban across Central region.

Water restrictions in the Central Highlands’ town of Capella have been increased to level 1 until further notice.

The council issued a release yesterday saying it was due to the capacity of Capella’s dams. These restrictions apply to council’s urban treated and raw water supplies.

QFES yesterday extended a local fire ban for Whitsunday, Isaac, Mackay, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Banana, Gladstone, Livingstone and Rockhampton Local Government Areas.

The local fire ban will remain in place until 2359 hrs on 3 January 3, 2020.

Heightened fire conditions are perfect for bushfires to ignite and spread quickly.

Under a local fire ban all open fires are prohibited and all Permits to Light Fire which have been issued in the designated areas have been cancelled.

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said the capacity of Capella’s dams required the restrictions to commence now.

‘Until the catchment in Capella gets rain to top up the dams, people are required to adopt level 1 restrictions,’ Mayor Hayes said.

‘Of course, we would prefer other news ahead of Christmas, but it’s important that people in Capella act on these restrictions.’

Mayor Hayes said that the Capella catchment was unrelated to other Central Highlands towns, that may see an increase in water restriction levels in early 2020.

‘We’ve had plenty of discussion around the Fairbairn Dam and water restrictions in Emerald, Blackwater and Bluff recently,’ he said.

‘It’s important to remember that Capella has its own water source that is not related to and vastly different than the Fairbairn Dam.’

Capella water restrictions were lowered to level 0 in April after rainfall topped up the catchment.

Meanwhile, QFES wanted to remind residents power tools may be used during a local fire ban however QFES encourages people to use these with extreme care and ensure adequate equipment is available to extinguish any fire which may start.

This may include having a person available to watch out for any ignitions that occur.

Information on fire bans and the exemptions that can apply can be found on the RFS website, www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.

More information about the Capella water restriction:

The Capella restrictions do not apply to:

a. Rain, grey or private bore water. People using either of these are encouraged to install a sign for public awareness.

b. Properties holding their own water allocations or license.

c. Properties granted an exemption issued by Central Highlands Regional Council.

This imposes the following restrictions on residential gardens and commercial premises:

Level 1 reduces the watering times of normal sprinklers to two hours in the morning (Between 6am and 8am) and evening (between 7pm and 9pm).

This applies to lawns and garden beds. On garden beds, micro spray and drip irrigation can be used within a four-hour time frame in the morning (between 5am and 9am) and evening (between 7am and 11pm).

On lawns, micro spray and drip irrigation can be used for two hours in the morning (between 6am and 8am) and evening (between 7am and 9pm) only.

Garden beds and shrubbery

Micro spray and drip irrigation: between 5am and 9am and between 7am and 11pm.

Sprinklers: Between 6am and 8am, and 7pm and 9pm.

Lawns

Micro spray and drip systems and/or sprinklers: between 6am and 8am, and between 7pm and 9pm.

Handheld hoses, buckets and watering cans can be used at any time.

Watering days:

Odd-numbered houses: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Even-numbered houses: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

No watering on Monday.

Window cleaning:

Windows may be cleaned with a trigger hose, buckets or watering cans only.

Washing cars:

Cars may be washed with a bucket or watering can and rinsed off with a trigger hose afterwards.

Filling pools and ponds:

Swimming pools may be filled with handheld hoses, buckets or watering cans only.

Ponds may only be topped up to normal level with handheld hoses, buckets or watering cans.

Cleaning paved areas:

Paved areas must not be washed with water unless required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard or other emergency.

For further details, refer to the water restrictions procedure, available on council’s website.