Three states across the east of Australia have seen a number of councils and water utilities impose tighter water restrictions due to the severity of the drought.
Sydney Water will move to level 2 restrictions – effective 10 December – two months earlier than expected. This will affect councils and communities spanning from Newcastle to the Illawarra, and west to the Blue Mountains.
Dam levels in the region are close to 46 per cent and are dropping each week, according to the NSW Government.
Tweed Shire Council, on the NSW-QLD border, said its only water storage at Clarrie Hall Dam is falling by 1.5 per cent a week and it may introduce restrictions before Christmas unless significant rain falls. The council is carting water into the village of Tyalgum, where level 4 restrictions started on 24 November 2019.
Dubbo Regional Council in western NSW is on level 4 restrictions with residents set a daily target of 280L per person per day.
Orange City Council imposed level 5 restrictions in October, with a target of 160L per person per day.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council imposed level 3 water restrictions from 25 November.
Further south, Shoalhaven City Council said level one restrictions will begin on 2 December and will last until it rains significantly.
Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, east of Canberra, started water restrictions in the towns of Braidwood and Bungendore on 22 November. Mandatory water restrictions are already covering Queanbeyan, Googong and Captains Flat.
Although there are currently no residential or business water restrictions in South East Queensland, residents in Canungra, west of the Gold Coast, have been asked to reduce their water use. Flows in nearby water source Canungra Creek are the lowest since the Millennium Drought.
Southern Downs Regional Council, which covers towns including Warwick and Stanthorpe, imposed critical restrictions in September and has a 100L per person per day target.
In Victoria, Lower Murray Water began restrictions on 21 November for residential gardens and lawn watering.