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Drought-hit town holds water saving expo

Water-saving products, tips and plants were on display in Armidale, New South Wales, on Sunday as part of a push to encourage residents to consider their water use.

With Level 5 water restrictions in place in the northern tablelands town, Armidale Regional Council (ARC) Mayor Simon Murray said it was important to highlight how the community can help conserve the region’s remaining supplies. 

To get its message across, ARC set up a National Water Week information booth at the town’s Markets in the Mall. This included water-saving items from local stores, information about water rebates and even a kokedama workshop, where visitors could learn the Japanese art of using moss, string, a ball of soil and a small amount of water to grow decorative plants.

“There are many simple options for better water efficiency, and the expo enabled residents to choose the alternatives that best suit them,” Murray said. 

Representatives from ARC were also on hand to provide information on the latest initiatives to supplement town water supplies, including setting a water use target of 160 L/person/day and attempting to find alternative water sources.

Armidale’s traditional water source, Malpas Dam, currently has just 400 days' worth of water remaining.

“We have a plan A and B,” Murray said.

“Plan A is trying to get people to reduce their water consumption. Plan B is drilling down for more groundwater. Plan C is a problem.”

Hydrogeology consultant Hydroilex has shortlisted 36 sites in the Armidale and Guyra areas likely to provide significant, good quality groundwater supplies.

“We’re optimistic the groundwater supplies could push back Day Zero, but even if these bores deliver the quantities of water we’re hoping for, they will still be relatively small compared to our dam supplies,” Murray said.

“Careful water conservation by households and business is essential to extend our remaining supplies until we get substantial rain.”