Stage one water restrictions will be introduced in Bungendore from Friday as the local council considers a rezoning proposal which could add hundreds more building allotments.
The proposed north Elmslea development for Bungendore has been a robust topic of debate within the local community given that the Queanbeyan-Palerang council has made future growth for the town dependent on a sufficient, sustainable water supply.
Bungendore relies on a series of underground bores for its town water. Council monitoring of the water table reveals that while the bores are "performing well" during the current drought, the coming restrictions are precautionary.
"This is the first time since 2010 that Braidwood and Bungendore have been placed on water restrictions and comes after a long period of below-average rainfall," Mayor Tim Overall said.
"Council has recently received approval to increase its draw on the underground water supply from a deeper source . . . and works to progress this will be occurring in the near future."
Stage one restrictions means that sprinklers can only be used to water lawns and plants between 7am and 10am, and between 7pm and 10pm, hoses can't be used to clean paved areas, and cars and windows can't be washed without using trigger-type sprayers or water from buckets.
In July this year, the council flagged that the town would potentially run dry by 2020 and had been pressing the NSW government to approve the deeper bore and an extraction entitlement of 1 gigalitre a year. Now approved, the new bore will take some months to come on line.
"The new water supply will not only support the new development but supplement existing supplies," a council spokesperson said.
The Bungendore Residents Group is not so easily convinced.
Kerry Doutch, the group's secretary, said that while most Bungendore residents are not opposed to water restrictions "in a philosophical sense", she believes that the council should "get the water available first, assess what the volume and flow rate are like, and then look how that fits in with plans to grow the town".
Before more water was found, the potential growth of the town was uncertain. But the council now favours its "high growth scenario", growing the population by 12,000 people by 2048.
Many will live in north Elmslea, where house and land packages will be much cheaper than the ACT.
Residents have expressed disquiet about a rezoning proposal which would "leave the way open for a development application to be lodged for a proposed 309-lot residential subdivision with block sizes ranging from 800 to 1200 square metres".
However, the council, while not denying the rezoning push, says the proposal remains open to public comment. A community meeting has been scheduled at 6pm on December 3 and the council will meet the following night.