Special council meeting on Wednesday January 22 to discuss water

A special council meeting will be held next Wednesday January 22 to discuss water.
A special council meeting will be held next Wednesday January 22 to discuss water.

Members of the public are welcome to attend a special council meeting next week to discuss water.

On Wednesday January 15, Port Macquarie-Hastings councillors received a briefing from Council's Executive on our regions current water storage levels, water restrictions and future water supply.

As result of this briefing, an Extraordinary Council Meeting has been called to discuss the potential to move to stricter water restrictions. The Extraordinary Council Meeting will be held on Wednesday January 22 at the Port Macquarie Council Chambers in 17 Burrawan Street, starting at 5.30pm.

Mayor Peta Pinson said that our water security and supply are of the highest priority for Council.

"The extended drought conditions, limited rainfall and impact of the bushfires has seen the combined water levels in our 2 storage dams reduce to 39.2%, with this level quickly approaching the 35% trigger level for Level 4 'Severe' water restrictions," said Mayor Pinson.

"Whilst our community have generally being doing a good job to conserve water, this is a serious situation and it is now appropriate for Council to give consideration to moving to Level 4 'Severe' water restrictions, with water restrictions being the single topic of discussion at the Extraordinary Meeting."

Residents are welcome to attend the meeting however there will be no Public Forum for items not on the agenda as would normally occur at an ordinary meeting of Council.

Residents can be considered to speak on the Agenda Item, and must complete the appropriate form to register a request to speak. All requests to speak must be received by Council no later than 4:30pm on Tuesday 21 January.

Forms are available at www.pmhc.nsw.gov.au/agenda with hard copies also available from Council Customer Service Centre's in Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Wauchope.

Residents can also phone 6581 8111 and a customer service assistant can complete the form over the phone with you. The Business Papers will be available for viewing at www.pmhc.nsw.gov.au/councilmeetings and at Council Offices and Libraries on Tuesday 21 January during office hours.

Deputy mayor Cr Lisa Intemann says she has had many people call her out for council not having gone to higher restrictions already, due to the record low rainfall, evidently the lowest since the 1870's.

However, she added, less than 24 hours after council called the special meeting, our area got the best rain in many months, falling everywhere from Mt Seaview to the coast.

"I've already got nearly 50mm in my rain gauge in just three hours this afternoon, Thursday January 16, and the rain still falling steadily and grey skies all around. Fantastic.

"Council will still meet next Wednesday to consider the position in view of received rain and the Bureau long range forecasts, plus the condition of the river and whether the flow is clean enough to be pumped.

"I've had second-hand reports of torrential rain today in the upper catchment - which is where its needed for the water supply, but sadly also landslides of soil and ash which could mean council has to delay pumping for days or weeks until the flow clears.

"It will be great if we can avoid Level 4 restrictions, and right now I've got my hopes up! The decision next week will take all the factors into consideration, including any rain we might still get in the meantime," added Cr Intemann.