HELP could be on the way for farmers and orchardists closer to home, with Orange City Council to consider free water access.
Councillor Tony Mileto asked for a report on opening the service to landholders to top up their stores during current drought conditions.
“As we all know, they’re having trouble getting water into their troughs and their tanks,” he said.
“I know that we do have a facility out of town but that isn’t known to everybody so I’m just wondering whether there’s an opportunity to promote that service.”
General manager Garry Styles said during the last drought, the council offered a standpipe supply at the McNamara Street works depot for 1000-litre tanks and he would bring a further report back for consideration.
“Last time, it was either a trivial price or for free,” he said.
Currently, the filling station is usually only used by commercial water carters, who are charged $3.60 a kilolitre.
“My suggestion would be is that council move a motion to provide that water free of charge,” Cr Mileto said.
Suma Park Dam has dipped below 50 per cent capacity, registering 48 per cent on Friday, with the section near Icely Road almost dry.
Total water storage remains at 54.7 per cent, 4 per cent away from the level three water restriction threshold.
Stormwater was the largest top-up source last financial year, with 153.3 megalitres supplied by the end of June.
Bores at Clifton Grove and Orange Showground were next, with almost 98.6 megalitres, followed by the Macquarie River pipeline, with a little more than 69 megalitres.
Water consumption last month remained well below recommended level two restriction usage, at 202 litres per person per day.
Level three restrictions include a ban on watering lawns and a limit on watering garden beds and plants to one hour in the morning and one hour at night.
Currently, morning and evening watering is allowed using the odds and evens system.
Technical services director Ian Greenham pointed out despite Suma Park receiving minimal in-flows, the council had still been releasing water into Summer Hill Creek to supply downstream farms.
Click here to find out more about level two restrictions.