Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray has announced Armidale will move onto level five water restrictions on October 1, again bringing it in line with Guyra which moved to level five on June 24.
Basically, it means we all have to try harder to further cut our water usage and make what we have left last even longer, but it is not all bad news because council will now help its community make changes to save every drop.
Cr Murray paid tribute to the terrific effort made by Armidale residents to reduce usage in the four months under level four water restrictions, but said more would need to be done if BoM predictions were correct, and the dry spell continued to run on.
"We have asked a lot of our community over the last six months and you have all risen to the challenge admirably," he said.
"From 222 litres per person per day (PPPD) water consumption, [down] to approximately 180 litres PPPD has been remarkable.
"Our challenge however still remains. We must do more to conserve our water ... until we receive meaningful rain and our dams have in-flow."
Cr Murray said based on our current reduced usage rate, Malpas Dam's day-zero water supply had extended out to about 427 days, or into November 2020.
"This is why council will continue to ask you to conserve more water in the home and adopt water wise strategies, to reach our target of 160 PPPD," he said.
"If we reach this target, our days to zero will further increase."
Cr Murray said level five restrictions would mean the business community in particular, especially the high water users, would be asked to implement a Water Saving Action Plan to reduce consumption.
"During the next couple of months council will be working individually with the high water use businesses through a dedicated water conservation officer to help implement their plans," he said.
Cr Murray said residents would also be able to obtain financial assistance to buy such things as water-efficient washing machines, toilets, showerheads and rain water tanks.
"Under the scheme, council will pay a maximum of 50 per cent of the purchase cost for select water saving devices," he said.
"A front-loading washing machine with a WELS rating of 4.5 stars or higher is one of the most effective ways many households and businesses can make substantial water savings."
He said the rebate scheme would also assist households to get a plumber out to audit their home, repair leaks and identify further water savings.