RESTRICTIONS NOT NEEDED: mayor dismisses water assertions

DUBBO might have been labelled a "thirsty" city by Orange but with water aplenty for 55,000 people, it may also have the last bath - and laugh.

Neither figures comparing the cities nor Orange mayor John Davis's assertion that everyone in NSW should be on water restrictions moved his opposite number at Dubbo.

Cr Mathew Dickerson stood up for the rights of the citizens of a city that could rely on the Macquarie River without a 37-kilometre pipeline.

They did not need water restrictions, although the council supported conservation, he said.

Orange residents may have used an average of 226 litres of water per day, less than a third of Dubbo's usage, but to the mayor that was just "logical".

"Dubbo is hotter," Cr Dickerson said.

Water usage at the two cities, as well as at Bathurst, were aired in the Orange-based Central Western Daily newspaper this week.

Cr Davis said Orange's lower water usage showed the silliness of criticism some Bathurst and Dubbo residents had levelled at the Macquarie River Pipeline.

His city was already under level two water restrictions and he emphasised its vulnerability, saying if the dry period continued dam levels could drop substantially.

The Dubbo mayor had no such fears and long-term planning was the reason for his calm in the face of a scorching summer.

"Our water treatment plant can process water for a population of 55,000," Cr Dickerson said.

"We take less than 1 per cent of the water that flows past our plant."

Cr Dickerson did not want to return to the various levels of water restrictions in place at times from the summer of 2005/2006 to 2008/2009.

"I would prefer... that our residents can use what they need to use," he said.

"Having said that, we have initiatives in place to encourage people to use less water.

"We don't want people to be silly with water."

Cr Dickerson said an absence of water restrictions was an important point of difference for Dubbo.

Investment in water, sewerage, the road network and other infrastructure so that it could cater for a future population of 55,000 people meant there was "nothing capping Dubbo's growth".

"It certainly gives us a competitive advantage - not so much against Orange and Bathurst, but Sydney," he said.

"People in Sydney have water restrictions - (we can say) move away and come to the country."

In the 24-hour period ending 7am on Tuesday, Dubbo consumed 33.3 million litres of treated water, which was 41.7 per cent of the plant's daily treatment capacity, the council advised.

This was equivalent to a residential water consumption of 673 litres per person.

The mercury hit 37.5 degrees Celsius at 4.30pm on Saturday at Dubbo, while at the same time it was a comfortable 26.2 degrees at Orange, the Bureau of Meteorology reported.

faye.wheeler@ruralpress.com

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