Level 4 severe water restrictions for residential use will begin on January 28 in response to the continuing intense drought.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has delayed implementation of level 4 water restrictions on commercial users until February 25, noting the potential significant impacts.
Council staff, in the meantime, will engage with commercial users about water saving measures to help minimise the economic impact of the restrictions.
An extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday, January 22 dealt with the issue of stricter water restrictions.
The combined level of Port Macquarie and Cowarra dams sits at just under 39 per cent.
A council report said the aim of level 4 severe water restrictions was to reduce overall demand by 20 per cent or around four to five megalitres a day.
Level 4 water restrictions, for residential use, ban all outdoor use of drinking water.
For example, residents will only able to water their gardens using buckets or watering cans containing recycled water, grey water or rainwater.
For commercial users, water use is limited to critical commercial use only.
A commercial user is defined as a registered business which relies on the use of water as part of its business activities to produce an income.
For businesses which do not rely on water to produce an income, residential water restrictions apply.
There will be an exemption process in place.
The extraordinary meeting heard from speakers Meredith Howard, Jake Wadsworth, Brad Dingledei and Stephen Healy.
The council report said it was anticipated that river flows enabling daily extraction to Cowarra Dam would be required for at least four months to replenish total combined storage levels above the 45 per cent needed to relax level 4 water restrictions.
The council expects to be in a position to begin extracting from the Hastings River into Cowarra Dam within the next fortnight.
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