City praised for drought response efforts

03 Jan 2021

City of Newcastle’s water saving action has gained attention, with Hunter Water reporting an impressive 20% reduction in consumption during recent Level 1 and 2 Water Restrictions*, saving in excess of 80 megalitres of precious water and an estimated $220,000.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is committed to long-term water efficiency initiatives and maintaining the momentum beyond the impressive results to-date.

“City staff acted quickly and worked collaboratively with Hunter Water and key stakeholders to reduce water consumption across the city, as soon as water restrictions were announced,” said Cr Nelmes.

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

"In addition, the City implemented efficiency strategies such as temporarily ceasing the water intensive 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.

“The City is currently installing new sand pipe infrastructure near Summerhill to access dam and non-potable water for washing down trucks and dust suppression. We will continue to use leak detection measures, improve irrigation practices, use nozzles, limit travelling irrigators, avoid daytime watering where possible, and increase staff awareness of water usage to change behaviours.

“Now that Smart Water Choices have replaced Level 1 Water Restrictions, City of Newcastle will continue to work with Hunter Water to ensure we are leading the way and using water as efficiently as possible, whilst continuing to provide amenity at key sites across the Local Government Area.

“This is an impressive result, but we must not be complacent. Collectively we need to continue to be mindful of our water consumption behaviours on an ongoing basis, particularly over this peak Summer water-usage period.

“We encourage Novocastrians to adopt simple everyday water saving behaviours that they demonstrated during Level 1 Water Restrictions.”

Hunter Water’s Executive Manager Customer Strategy & Retail, Victor Prasad, acknowledged the excellent water saving efforts of City of Newcastle.

“City of Newcastle has achieved a fantastic result and I applaud their ongoing commitment to saving our most precious resource,” said Mr Prasad.

“Hunter Water is grateful to all Councils across our area of operations for working closely with us during the period of water restrictions to drive down water use and encourage everyone to love water.

“We will build on these results to save even more drinking water by exploring opportunities for recycled water schemes to irrigate public open spaces and playing fields.”

*Hunter Water’s Level 1 and 2 Water Restrictions were in effect between September 2019 to 1 October 2020.