Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will consider further tightening of water restrictions at its November meeting.
The move is a response to the rapidly declining water storage levels at the Port Macquarie Dam and Cowarra Dam, coupled with a lack of forecast rain for the region in the foreseeable future.
The current combined total at the two dams is just 52.5 per cent.
On August 14 this year the combined total for the two dams was 60 per cent while by October 31, the level had dropped to 52 per cent.
By November 5, the 2500 megalitre Port Macquarie Dam's total was sitting at 71.8 per cent while the 10,000 megalitre Cowarra Dam was at just 47.6 per cent.
Council introduced Level 1 water restrictions on April 15 before tightening to Level 2 on September 2.
Read more: It has been the driest year on record
Port Macquarie Garden Club president Mary Biden says there are many ways to keep a beautiful, functional garden during times of drought.
She also urged the Port Macquarie-Hastings community to better educate themselves on the value of water.
"I try to keep it at the forefront of their minds," Ms Biden said.
"As a nation we have to learn to respect the water that we have got.
"But I don't think we (Port Macquarie residents) are quite in touch with the drought conditions
"Last week I noticed people out there watering their driveways," she said.
Garden club members believe that using a good mulch and wetting agents are a good start to maximising the effectiveness of watering.
"Wetting agents will help break the tension of the garden bed surface while crystals can also be used to hold water in pots," she said.
"If you are starting a garden right from scratch, the ideal is to plant drought-tolerant species throughout the garden.
If you are starting a garden right from scratch, the ideal is to plant drought-tolerant species throughout the garden.Port Macquarie Garden Club president Mary Biden
"You can still plant the exotics (that generally need more watering) but you need a good balance between natives and exotics so it will be a more water efficient garden.
"I would avoid things like planting fruit trees right now because they would require more intensive, deep watering."
Ms Biden also suggested harvesting water in the shower recess or the rinse water off a washing machine to water pots and some shrubs.
Council's website says that Level 4 water restrictions will be considered when the total combined storage in Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams falls to 35 per cent.
The restrictions at this level include:
- all outside use of drinking water including water sprinklers, micro-sprays, fixed and hand-held hoses is banned
- gardens can be watered with reclaimed water or tank water only
- sporting fields and public gardens can use reclaimed water only
- nurseries, bowling greens and commercial market gardens may only water under council licence.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann says council will consider going early to higher water restrictions at the November council meeting.
"Whichever level is decided - level 3 or 4 or emergency - it will mean conserving water indoors, and prohibiting most residential outside use," she said.
"Council will actively promote water saving tips."
Whichever level is decided - level 3 or 4 or emergency - it will mean conserving water indoors, and prohibiting most residential outside use.Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann
Director Dan Bylsma says councillors met last week to review the region's current water position and to discuss options that ensure the community has continued access to a safe, clean water supply.
"Consistent with many parts of the state, our region is experiencing the intense drought with prolonged limited rainfall conditions, and we have had to draw additional water from our dams to combat recent bushfires," he said.
"At the November meeting, council will consider a number of options, including the possibility of moving to higher level water restrictions ahead of adopted trigger levels.
"Any action taken by council would simply help in increasing the available days of our current supply of water, through education and tighter controls around usage across our region during the warmer summer period," he said.
The Port Macquarie Garden Club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 2pm at the Baptist Church on McIntyre Street, Port Macquarie.
For more information on the garden club contact Mary Biden on 0488 502 123.
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