The dry spell which continues to grip the Mid North Coast, coupled with unprecedented spring bushfires has forced MidCoast Council to ramp up water restrictions. From next Monday, November 25 level four or severe water restrictions will be introduced across the MidCoast Council region. However, communities to the south, Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens have escaped these stricter water conditions and will remain at very high or level three for the time being. Level four restrictions ban all outdoor water use. Residents can only use recycled, grey or rain water on gardens; there is a total ban on sprinklers or garden irrigation systems. No car or boat washing is permitted and swimming pool top-ups also are banned. Grey water can be collected by placing buckets in showers, while washing machine water or using kitchen sink water also can be saved for use on plants. However, water from soiled nappies or filthy clothing is not suitable for reuse. Businesses across the Mid Coast are now required to limit any process water to the minimum necessary to maintain basic production. Outside use of water by businesses is not permitted without an exemption. Council will also work with affected businesses to mitigate the impacts of the restrictions. Holiday accommodation will be provided with information to ensure visitors are aware of the restrictions. MidCoast Council also will limit its water usage. From Monday, council will only water sports fields and parks that are serviced by recycled or bore water. Beach showers along with water at boat ramps and fish cleaning tables will be turned off. Road crews had begun to use recycled water for road production purposes. MidCoast Council infrastructure and engineering services director, Rob Scott said the area had never faced this type of crisis was facing an water shortage in the history of water supply service. "This is the first time we have required severe level four restrictions, Mr Scott said. "Last week was extremely demanding on our community, our staff, their families and our emergency services. "It was also demanding upon our water supplies with usage increasing by nearly 30 per cent. "The average usage we recorded was over 27 million litres per day. "Under restrictions, we had been averaging just over 20 million litres per day previously." He said smaller water supplies, such as in Gloucester, could enter emergency restrictions, also for the first time. "We are making plans just in case emergency supplies need to be accessed. "This would involve transporting water by road or rail to Gloucester. "We are developing options for short term emergency supply of water including getting as much as possible out of our current systems. "We will be expanding the Nabiac borefield, so that we can increase the amount of water from that source. You may also like to read: "We are also considering another option to install a temporary desalination plant on the Manning to treat brackish water so it can be used to supplement our existing supply. "What we need now, apart from some good rainfall to break this horrific drought, is for everyone to assist in conserving water. "A litre of water saved is a litre for tomorrow. "We have seen our community really pull together during the bushfires, and now we need the same effort to conserve water. "With the longer term forecast suggesting we could receive some rain in the coming weeks, please continue to observe restrictions until we advise otherwise. "It is going to take major rainfall events to change our situation." Additional information and fact sheets are available on the MidCoast Council website, water restrictions page, while tips to help households save water is on the managing water use page. Did you know the Manning River Times is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.