Water warnings ignored despite 'worst recorded drought'
A HUGE increase in water consumption in Warwick and Stanthorpe has sparked urgent warnings for Southern Downs residents to save every drop as authorities look to increase water restrictions in the near future.
Data collected by Southern Downs Regional Council shows Warwick water consumption rose by more than 32ML in January, taking rate of usage soaring beyond target levels.
In a council meeting on Wednesday, SDRC director of infrastructure Graham O'Byrne said the increase had been "dramatic" compared with the previous month.
"Water consumption has gone up in all areas particularly in Warwick and Stanthorpe and we need to ask people to be really vigilant," Mr O'Byne said.
The figures come as an increasing number of rural residents turn to Warwick's reticulated system for emergency water as tanks and bores run dry.
"What is in essence an urban water supply is effectively giving water to residents across the whole region," mayor Tracy Dobie said in the meeting.
"One of the things I would like to reinforce is that we are in the worst drought ever recorded in our region."
Current restrictions limit residents to 170L per day but Mr O'Byrne said people were using more than 200L.
He said the council was currently in discussions about increasing water restrictions, expected to be announced in coming days.
"What we are addressing at the moment is what the appropriate target will be for the residents to be able to carry out the normal life, especially businesses."
CEO David Keenan said the number of standpipes and truck washes available in the region would reduce significantly.
Leslie Dam, down to 7.43 per cent capacity, will run out of water in 19 months if current consumption levels continue and there is no rain.
Connolly Dam and Storm King dam both have only about 11 months' supply left.
Meanwhile, the message to save water is trickling down to some of our youngest citizens.
Year 2 students from the School of Total Education shared some water-saving tips with the community.
"Don't turn the tap on the full way and try to have shorter showers," Jordy Sanderson said.