Central Coast to face Level 1 water restrictions when Mangrove Creek Dam drops to 50 per cent of capacity

LOW POINT: Mangrove Creek Dam, pictured in 2004, when it was at 26 per cent of capacity. The dam is currently at 50.95 per cent of capacity and the trigger for Level 1 water restrictions is when it drops to 50 per cent of capacity. Picture: Robert Pearce
LOW POINT: Mangrove Creek Dam, pictured in 2004, when it was at 26 per cent of capacity. The dam is currently at 50.95 per cent of capacity and the trigger for Level 1 water restrictions is when it drops to 50 per cent of capacity. Picture: Robert Pearce

WHILE Lake Macquarie residents this week shifted to Level 2 water restrictions, their neighbours across the road on the Central Coast continue to have no water restrictions.

But that seems likely to soon change.

Level 1 water restrictions will come into effect on the Central Coast when storage in Mangrove Creek Dam - the Central Coast's main water reservoir - reaches 50 per cent of capacity.

Mangrove Creek Dam was at 50.95 per cent of capacity on Tuesday night.

The council said the trigger for Level 1 restrictions could be reached in February.

Last year, the council said it considered future water needs for the area, and the long-term weather forecast, and lifted the Level 1 restriction trigger from 40 per cent of capacity.

The council met in December and agreed to retain the 50 per cent trigger for Level 1 restrictions.

Council's water and sewer director, Jamie Loader, said council's ongoing investment in water infrastructure and residents' water conservation had put the region in a strong position to face a prolonged drought.

"Storage-wise, we have more water than at the beginning of the 10-year Millennium Drought in 2002," Mr Loader said.

"While our population has grown since then, we've also seen the introduction of water-efficient appliances and building practices. On average, each Coast resident is using significantly less water than they did at the beginning of that drought."

Last year, Cr Greg Best said the region should skip straight to Level 2 restrictions when Mangrove Creek Dam reached the trigger point of 50 per cent of capacity.

He said going straight to Level 2 restrictions, and bypassing Level 1 restrictions, would save the Coast more than 450 million litres of drinking water over the holiday period alone.

But mayor Lisa Matthews said the council was acutely aware of the need to manage water wisely and had established "an expert water advisory committee" to provide additional advice to the council.

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