Media Release

Dubbo Regional Council should adhere to its own policies

 Dubbo Regional Council has a dedicated Drought Hub page on its Web Site and, under the ‘Drought Management Plan’ is an approved document that outlines the full Drought Management Plan. On 29 October, Council was quoted in the Daily Liberal newspaper that soaker hoses were the preferred watering device for lawns as that was the wording in the original drought management plan introduced in 2015.

So it would appear that Council is following the wording from that document to the precise wording despite the admission from Council that advancements in technology means that there are now more water-efficient systems on the market. Since there is no standard across the State for water restriction definitions, this document adopted the Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo (BOD) water restriction definitions which included soaker hoses.

Yet in that same document, the one so steadfastly adhered to by Council, there is a Table on Page 4 that outlines the triggers for water restrictions.

Keep in mind that Dubbo currently has 80 per cent of its allocation of its ~8GL of river water licenses and 100% of its allocation of its ~4GL of bore water licenses.

In Table 1 in the Drought Management Plan on the Dubbo Regional Council Drought Hub Web site, when the Macquarie River Allocation reaches 70 per cent or the Borefields Allocation reaches 50 per cent, the water restriction level should be at Level 1. With our current allocation of 80 per cent and 100 per cent, Dubbo should be on Level 1 restrictions. On 1 November Dubbo will go to Level 4.

The trigger in the approved document for Level 4 is 45 per cent of river allocation or 50 per cent of borefield allocation. Dubbo is a long way from being at these levels.

“I attended a Drought Information Session in Dubbo yesterday and heard firsthand the situation from the perspective of WaterNSW. There is no doubt that Dubbo Regional Council is jumping to water restriction levels that are significantly more extreme than required – by their own documentation – and it is hurting Dubbo’s businesses and doing long-term damage to our reputation,” said the last Mayor of Dubbo City Council, Mathew Dickerson.

Emeritus Mayor Allan Smith, continued, “Previous Councils of Dubbo have invested in the long-term future of this city by ensuring we met the present and future needs and to give us a competitive advantage in ensuring a consistent supply of water. Despite the current drought conditions, Dubbo is still a thriving regional city that can attract people and businesses from across the State – but not if our reputation is of a city without water.”

Mr Dickerson has just returned from riding his bike throughout the region and both former Mayors realise how much the region is suffering from the impacts of this drought, but water restrictions in Dubbo do not help farmers. “If we reduce our consumption in Dubbo, that water is not able to be used by farmers so it is of no help to farmers but Dubbo relies on the region and the region relies on Dubbo so harming Dubbo’s reputation harms the entire region,” said Mr Smith.

Both former Mayors finished by noting that good governance is essential for good government and they urge Council to follow procedure and adhere to their own documentation and revert to Level 1 water restrictions.

The document referenced can be found at


Allan Smith                    Mathew Dickerson        

0428 638 210                0418 628 439

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