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tas news 7sd pageheader 2019

Dams the answer, as water restrictions rolled out

water tap

As Tasmania's big dry continues, Stage 1 water restrictions are today being rolled out in nearly all the state's serviced areas until at least April.

Only the Huon Valley, Circular Head, King Island and West Coast municipalities are exempt from the latest bans.

Greater Hobart's already on a low-level stage 1 restriction, it's now joined by Launceston and Burnie, while Scamander on the parched east coast remains on Stage 3. Bridport is going on Stage 2, along with communities including Ulverstone, Devonport, Oatlands and the parched East Coast.

Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Debbie Wisby says farmers are doing it tough.

"We need to maintain a level of care and respect to managing that, which I think TasWater is doing, but for the farmers it is still very difficult, the ground is very dry and it's my understanding we need 140ml of water to get some moisture back in the ground."

She says Council is looking at building dams in the area to retain rain water, which will be built in strategic locations.

"It's very costly to build dams, but I think it's important to not stand back and think it's going to rain one day and it will all go back to the old ways. We need to look at how we can capture that water and hold it, so that we have water in dry periods," she said.

Ruth Dowty, Community Stakeholder and Customer Relations Department Manager says although these sorts of measures are a regular occurrence in other parts of Australia, this is the first time such widespread restrictions have been necessary for Tasmania.

“By implementing restrictions now, we can build up our storage and prepare greater safeguards against the possibility of dry conditions into next summer. We may experience some rainfall in the meantime, but the BOM advice is that it will take several months of above-average rain to make up the deficits in our waterways and reservoirs."

“We are asking community members to work together to help ensure there is enough for everyone,” she said.