Independent NSW MP Justin Field has called for level 2 water restrictions to be introduced in time for Summer following reports that Sydney’s water use continues to be above historical averages and dam levels continue to fall at record rates.
The new information is contained in the November Water NSW Greater Sydney Operations Plan Report which has warned that Summer will be drier and hotter than average. The report also shows (p8) that water use across Sydney has been above the five year average for 11 of the last 12 months including every month since level 1 water restrictions were introduced on 1 June 2019.
Independent NSW MP Justin Field said, "the above average water use across Sydney since level 1 water restrictions started in June shows the Government isn't doing enough to alert the public to the seriousness of rapidly falling dam levels and to curb water use. The Government should move to level 2 water restrictions before Summer hits and escalate the public campaign to save water.”
Under the Metropolitan Water Plan, level 1 water restrictions would normally start when dam levels reach 50% but were brought in at 53.2%. Additional Shoalhaven transfers would normally start at 30% but were started at 50%. Level 2 water restrictions would normally begin at 40%. Current dam levels are 46.3%.
“The Government brought in level 1 water restrictions early and they are allowing additional transfers from the Shoalhaven but dam levels continue to fall and usage rates remain stubbornly high. Clearly something isn’t working,” Mr Field said. In answer to a question in Parliament last week the NSW Government acknowledged that only 118 warnings for breaches of current water restrictions had been issued with no fines issued. Sydney residents are using more water per person today than when the Coalition came to office in 2011. The speed and depth of this crisis is only partly due to drought. There has been a failure by the NSW Government to invest in water efficiency and recycling programs which has left Sydney vulnerable.
“As the driest continent on the planet we should be world leaders in efficient water use and water recycling but Sydney’s water use per person is going up. The Liberal/National Government has allowed Sydney to become a laggard when it comes to water recycling and efficiency. Climate change will make rainfall less reliable into the future only making it more important that we get water security right in the future.