Despite parts of the Eurobodalla getting more than 200mm of rain last week, the Eurobodalla Shire Council has confirmed Level 1 water restrictions would come into effect for all residents and businesses from December 2, 2023.
On Saturday, December 1, the council's director of infrastructure services Graham Attenborough said water in the Tuross River could still drop low enough to stop water from being pumped for use.
The restrictions have come into affect ahead of the region's busy Christmas period, which typically means higher demand for water.
Mr Attenborough said the council will review the restrictions in "coming weeks".
"Whether we lift restrictions, remain at Level 1 or even move to Level 2, in the next fortnight we'll have a better idea if the river will have enough water over the high demand period to pump and supply in the south," he said.
Just a few weeks ago, Deep Creek Dam, the shire's only water storage facility, was at 98 per cent, however since last week's heavy downpour, the dam is at capacity.
In early November, a council spokesperson told Australian Community Media/Bay Post the Deua and Tuross Rivers were still high enough to pump from.
Mr Attenborough said although the dam is full, water in the Deua and Tuross Rivers is falling.
On Wednesday, November 29, streets in Mogo were cut off for 30 hours from the rest of the town after floodwater washed away the Veitch Street bridge over Mogo Creek.
Before the significant rainfall, the shire had only seen sporadic downpours of up to 10mm. Only 2.4mm was recorded across one month by the Bureau of Meteorology in September 2023 at Moruya.
"Level 1 water restrictions simply formalise the basic water-saving measures we should all be practicing," Mr Attenborough said.
Over the Christmas period, demand for water in the shire can be more than 20 megalitres per day which is more than the northern water treatment plant can supply. To meet demand, water is drawn from the Tuross River and fed to the southern water treatment plant.
Since 2016, the council has been working on a $130 million project to build a 3000-megalitre storage dam west of Bodalla.
"The southern dam will go a long way to securing Eurobodalla's water supply into the future. We're on track for a late 2024 completion but significant rain to fill it will be required before it becomes fully operational and integrated."
Mr Attenborough said water restrictions will be used in the meantime to maintain water supply and storage.
Under Level 1 water restrictions, washing down hard surfaces and the use of micro-spray systems and unattended hoses is banned.
For the full list of banned and restricted water uses in Level 1 restrictions, visit the council's website.