By CRAIG McTEAR
JUST as the heavens have opened, so too it would seem has the heart of Coffs Harbour City Council.
Residents labouring under nasty Level Four water restrictions since October 16 will be thrilled with the news that from today, those restrictions are being eased to the permanent Level One.
"We've had some very good rain recently which has allowed us to pump into Karangi Dam from both the Orara and Nymboida rivers," the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said.
The Karangi Dam is now running at close to 85 per cent capacity, way up from 65 per cent on October 18 ? just before heavy downpours dumped 220mm into the catchment area.
Pumping is continuing from the Orara and Nymboida rivers and current consumption is at 15.6 megalitres per day (ml/d), well below the target of 16.2 ml/d.
"Consumers have also been particularly frugal since we raised the restrictions to Level Four," Cr Rhoades said.
"That care over water use, combined with the possibility of more rain on the way, has led to the council's decision to ease restrictions back to our permanent level one."
Further rainfall will boost river flows and increase the dam's capacity even more.
The council introduced Level One restrictions permanently in June just as dam levels dropped.
So far this year, the city has had to cope with water restrictions ranging between Levels One and Four.
Under Level One measures:
Ssprinklers and unattended hoses are banned between 8am and 4pm,
Hoses can only be used to wash driveways, paved areas and roofs for health or safety reasons. Pressure cleaners are al- lowed, and
Car washing is allowed, providing ? where practical ? the runoff is onto a lawn and not down the drain.
Businesses or industry adversely affected by the restrictions have been urged to phone the council on 6648 4000.