Katherine’s water use has officially moved into the red zone – the safe buffer between use and available supply of PFAS free water.
Water officials are recommending Katherine residents take shorter showers and reduce garden watering.
If consumption rises even further, as most expect during the onset of build-up weather, even harsher water restrictions will have to be considered.
Katherine Times has been warned in the past, those restrictions are likely to mean a total ban on garden water.
At the moment the town is continuing under an odds and evens watering regime for its second year.
Power and Water has also today revealed a new water treatment plant capable to clean PFAS from all the town’s water is unlikely to be installed until late next year at the earliest.
The red zone indicates water consumption is greater than 10 million litres per day.
Power Water said the current water use is really testing the capacity of its treatment plant’s limited ability to supply PFAS free water.
An emergency plant was installed last year but is only capable of cleaning PFAS from one million litres of contaminated bore per day.
Water services regional coordinator Ron Davidson said compulsory water conservation measures have been effective in reducing daily demand.
“Maintaining irrigation free Fridays is increasingly critical as we head toward the build-up when Katherine’s water usage traditionally increases,” Mr Davidson said.
“Because we are saving water every Friday we have been able to bank a little extra water in the tanks to get us through the days where water demand had been outstripping production.”
“We can see that most of the community are following the measures but we need everyone to commit to reducing their garden irrigation and not watering at all on Fridays.
“Residents can also reduce the amount of time their sprinklers are on by five or 10 minutes and having short showers.
“It also won’t matter if lawns brown off a little because rain isn’t too far away.”
Power and Water Living Water Smart staff will be in town this week discussing water saving measures with Katherine’s large businesses and organisations who use significant amounts of water.
Leak checkers were back in town last week to check progress on repairs to 310 leaks found in May this year. So far 221 of those leaks have been fixed which has saved over 130,000 litres a day.
Riverview Tourist Village recently found and fixed two leaks and as a result have saved nearly 28 000 litres of water every day, equivalent saving 120 wheelie bins full of water every day.
Riverview Tourist Village Manager Craig Batten said finding and fixing the leaks has made Riverview’s owners very happy.
“We feel good as we know the importance of not wasting water in Katherine. We have to preserve our water to make sure our tap water is safe for drinking,” Mr Batten said.
“Power and Water is continuing to work on the preliminary planning for an additional water treatment plant, which is expected to be in place at the end of 2019,” a spokeswoman said.