The Lower Hunter community has been praised for its response to the level one water restrictions with Hunter Water seeing a 14 per cent drop in water usage across the catchment and, despite investigating more than 600 alleged restriction breaches, not having to issue any fines.
Since September 16 when water restrictions came into effect across the Lower Hunter, inclusive of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, Hunter Water said it had investigated 670 alleged breaches of the level one restrictions but had yet to issue a fine to an individual or businesses.
"The Lower Hunter community has responded incredibly well since the start of water restrictions by using about 14 per cent less water than what we expected, given the weather conditions," a Hunter Water spokesperson said.
"A team of community water officers from Hunter Water has been monitoring our region and educating the community on what level one water restrictions mean.
"The officers respond to all reports of alleged breaches to ensure compliance, with more than 670 reported to date.
"While their primary focus is on education and awareness, they have the ability to issue fines if people choose not to comply with the restrictions after a warning."
The level one water restriction guidelines include: all hand held hoses must have a trigger nozzle, outdoor watering is permitted before 10am and after 4pm, no hosing of hard surfaces such as concrete, paths and driveways, no sprinklers, and only wash vehicles with a bucket, trigger nozzle hose or pressure cleaner.
The level one restrictions focus on reducing outdoor water usage, which accounts for about 20 per cent of the Lower Hunter's total drinking water consumption.
Fines for breaching water restrictions can be up to $220 for individuals or sole traders and $550 for businesses or corporations.
Residents are encouraged to report suspected water restriction breaches through the Hunter Water website.
Hunter Water said if conditions continue to be very hot and dry over summer as predicted, level two water restrictions could be in place by the end of January.
Level two restrictions further reduce outdoor watering, vehicle cleaning and shower lengths.
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