On the day of romance and affection, Hunter residents were urged to show love for the region’s water supply after a hot summer saw the highest monthly water usage in 16 years.
Hunter Water launched their Love Water conservation campaign on Wednesday at Grahamstown Dam to increase awareness about falling supply levels.
Across the organisation’s catchments total storage capacity has dropped to 69.4 per cent. Prolonged dry conditions have seen a drop to the lowest summer storage levels in over a decade.
Demand increased by 20 per cent in January compared to the same period over the past 10 years, and was the highest recorded usage month since 2002.
On average, the region used 260 million litres a day – the equivalent of 104 Olympic swimming pools.
“When people love something they protect it, care for it and value it,” managing director Jim Bentley said. “We’re hoping people apply those same attributes when using water around their home or business.”
Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the campaign is about protecting our precious resource.
“Love Water will educate households and businesses in the Hunter about ways they can be more efficient with their water use,” said Mr Harwin. “Water is a critical resource and NSW has some of the best of it – so it is very important we are focused on ensuring sustainable supply across the state.”
Hunter Water’s storage outlook predicts level one water restrictions could be enacted by May if a low rainfall trajectory continued.
“Initially, if it doesn’t rain in the next month or two, we’ll have to tighten our belts,” Mr Bentley said.
Stage One restrictions won’t be triggered until the combined storages fall to 60 per cent.