While the flower beds of the main street gardens have been sacrificed to water restrictions, council is endeavouring to keep the CBD's established trees alive using non-drinkable backwash from its water filtration plant.
"As this is an extremely limited resource, this water use cannot extend to our gardens to bring the colour and vibrancy from petunias and pansies which would be the normal plantings for this time of year," Mayor Peter Petty said.
In 2015 Tenterfield's main street underwent an extensive upgrade in line with council's Main Street Master Plan. This included extensive works to the gardens in the town square (Bruxner Park).
However, the imposition of harsh water restrictions and the severity of the ongoing drought have impacted these gardens as council prioritises the rapidly-depleting dam water supply for domestic use.
"Council understands the importance of these gardens to the ambience of the town centre in providing an attractive place for families to spend time and encouraging the passing tourist traffic to stop, unwind and peruse our unique shopping experiences," Cr Petty said.
In order to overcome the increasing likelihood of continued dry spells into the future, council staff are taking the opportunity to revisit the layout and water efficiency of the Rouse Street gardens. As such in coming months residents will see activity in these gardens with the installation of new, water-saving uniram drip lines.
Cr Petty said once the long-awaited rain falls and water restrictions are lifted, the garden beds will be prepared and ready for planting with a new selection of colour and greenery, watered by a more economical and sustainable system.
Meanwhile a small percentage of water coming out of the sewage treatment plant is taken up by the Tenterfield Golf Club thanks to a longstanding water licence, but council is unable to divert water for other uses without applying for a licence. This water instead maintains the flow in Tenterfield Creek.