Dubbo Regional Council is about to pull out the big stick after tiptoeing around past breaches of water restrictions.
Rather than issue fines, the council has been giving ratepayers and residents time to be "fully aware of their own water use".
But the council intends to crack down on people who shun "very high" level four water restrictions being introduced to the Dubbo region on Friday.
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After receiving a warning, offenders will be fined up to $220 every time they are caught breaching the restrictions.
The council's chief executive officer Michael McMahon has explained why up until now it has been reluctant to take a heavy-handed approach.
"This is the first time in history Dubbo Regional Council has been under these water restrictions, so we want to ensure residents fully understand what their current water consumption looks like," he said on Thursday.
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"At this stage, there have not been any fines issued under level three water restrictions, as Dubbo Regional Council is mindful of ensuring people are fully aware of their own water use.
"However, after we move to level four, council rangers and compliance staff will be patrolling the streets of Dubbo and responding to resident complaints about misuse of water.
"Under level four, Dubbo Regional Council staff will be issuing a warning in the first instance, and issuing fines of up to $220 per offence for any offences thereafter."
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Mr McMahon said the council currently employed eight rangers in Dubbo and Wellington.
"Those rangers will now also be responsible for attending water compliance issues," he said.
"However, any member of council staff can report water misuse."