City expands drought response plan

20 Jan 2020

City of Newcastle will initiate new water savings measures in response to the introduction of Level 2 restrictions which come into effect across the Hunter from today.

To assist with reducing pressure on the region’s dwindling water supplies, the drought response plan will be delivered in consultation with Hunter Water and include strategies to measure and reduce water consumption.

Initiatives include minimising irrigation practices at sporting fields, installing new rainwater tanks, using surface water catchment ponds at Summerhill Waste Management Centre and auditing water use at inland pools.

They are part of a suite of efficiency strategies which started in the lead up to Level 1 restrictions, including ceasing the annual planting regime at King Edward Park and installing smart water meters at key sites across the city that track water usage in real time and help identify leaks.

Manager Parks and Recreation Lynn Duffy said the City has been proactive with its plan to reduce water usage.

“City of Newcastle has been working with Hunter Water to reduce its water consumption since the lead up to the implementation of Level 1 water restrictions in mid-September,” Ms Duffy said.

“With little to no rain in the months since, we’re now in the position where we need to reduce our water use even more as Hunter Water’s overall water storage falls closer to 50 percent.

“Hunter Water has been working closely with City of Newcastle to help predict and prepare for this scenario borne out of one of the worst droughts ever experienced across the State.

“Over the length of the water restrictions - however long they last - we will continue to work with Hunter Water on our drought response plan to ensure we’re using water as efficiently as possible while still providing a level of amenity at key sites across the city.”

The City of Newcastle has also applied for several exemptions under the Level 2 restrictions, including using some irrigation at key public parks, such as Civic Park and Foreshore Park, and some high-use sporting fields such as No.2 Sportsground which plays host to international sporting events such as the upcoming Trans-Tasman Touch Football competition.