Councillors lift water restrictions

IT may be one of the driest years on record, but councillors Tuesdays voted to lift all water restrictions in the Rockhampton region.

People at the Capricorn Coast, Gracemere and Mount Morgan will now be free to soak their lawns and gardens at all times of the day and night.

There were no restrictions in place in the former Rockhampton City Council area, but thousands of residents throughout the region have been under strict orders to preserve water.

In the former Livingstone Shire it was against regulations to use hose pipes and sprinklers between 9am and 4pm.

At Gracemere there was a complex set of restrictions, with no watering at all on Wednesdays and time restrictions on all other days.

And at Mount Morgan sprinklers were banned entirely but hand-held hoses were permitted only at certain times.

Cr Greg Belz, chairman of Rockhampton Regional Council's Water Committee, said yesterday that under government legislation there was now no justification for continuing with the restrictions.

But he said people should not see it as a green light to go mad with the hose.

“This is more about giving people flexibility and convenience for their use of hoses and sprinklers. It's definitely not meant to encourage irresponsible or wasteful use of water,” he said.

“Water is one of the most precious commodities in Australia, the driest continent on earth and we need to ensure environmentally sustainable practices for future generations to have a secure good-quality water supply.”

It came down to trusting people to apply commonsense, he said. And if there was evidence of abuse, restrictions could be reapplied as appropriate.

“We still want people to be water wise and use resources in a responsible way.”

Cr Glenda Mather was not convinced. She said it seemed very strange to be lifting restrictions when it had not rained for months on end.

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