Level four water restrictions are here to stay until water storage levels improve at the region's dams.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Councillors made the decision at the council meeting on Wednesday, February 18.
They agreed restrictions should only be downgraded to level three once the Total Combined Storage (TCS) of local dams increases above 48 per cent.
Recent rainfall and above average rainfall for the start of February 2020 has improved the region's immediate water security situation.
It has resulted in a TCS increase from 37.9 per cent to 41 per cent after seven days of river extraction.
Camden Haven resident and long term professional within the water industry, Carmel Krogh addressed councillors at the meeting and urged council to be more transparent with the community on water usage.
She said council needs to be providing daily information to the public, in relation to water use and information on restrictions.
Mayor Peta Pinson pushed forward a motion at the meeting to move from level four water restrictions to level three water restrictions for both residential and commercial users from March 1.
Under Cr Pinson's motion council would continue to disable all public outdoor water use for beach showers, fish cleaning tables and boat cleaning tables until April 1.
Speaking in support of the motion, Cr Pinson said high volume pumping of the river could be possible within the next week.
She congratulated the community for embracing ways to conserve water, both inside and outside their homes.
Cr Pinson also noted since moving into level 3 water restrictions on November 25, 2019 and further moving onto level 4 severe water restrictions on January 28, there has been a 16 per cent reduction in total water demand for the summer period.
However, according to the council agenda, the Bureau of Meteorology is still forecasting uncertain rainfall for the remainder of summer and into autumn.
Due to the recent events of fires, drought and floods, Cr Pinson said people have a greater appreciation of the value of water.
"It's a finite resource, not an infinite one," she said.
After discussion, the motion went to a vote and Cr Pinson and Cr Griffiths were in favour, while all other councillors were against the motion.
Cr Turner put forward an alternative motion, which was supportive of the original recommendation made by council staff and he said it was based on research and feedback.
Cr Turner added a point to the recommendation to increase the frequency and scope of communication with the community, to heighten awareness and transparency around water usage.
Cr Intemann supported Cr Turner's motion and said the region has to be very careful with water, as the area hasn't received drought-breaking rain.
Cr Hawkins also backed the move to stay on level four water restrictions and made reference to data from one year ago on February 13, when there was 75.6 per cent of capacity for water storage. He said later in the year "we were in a dire situation that got us to level four".
Cr Hawkins said he'd love to lift the restrictions but logic, according to the staff report, suggested it's too uncertain.
Cr Pinson and Cr Griffiths voted against the motion. All other councillors were in favour of the recommendation that a move from level four to level three water restrictions should only occur once the Total Combined Storage (TCS) of local dams increases above 48 per cent.
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