The fierce drought engulfing NSW has largely left Lower Hunter residents untouched, until now.
The region is edging toward water restrictions with Hunter Water's combined storage level predicted to drop to 60 per cent by the end of August unless significant rain falls in the catchment area.
The combined storage level was 68.9 per cent on Thursday and had dropped 0.9 per cent in the past week.
A reading of 60 per cent would signal the need for level one water restrictions which would see sprinklers banned and watering allowed only three days a week before 10am and after 4pm.
But that's not the only bad news.
If below average rainfall continues during spring the combined storage at the end of November is predicted to be just above 50 per cent.
Read more:The Big Dry
That would lead to level two water restrictions over summer, a time when high evaporation rates - particularly at the shallow Grahamstown Dam - would wreak further havoc on the water supply.
If level two restrictions were enforced cars could only be washed and rinsed using a bucket and gardens could be watered two days a week.
Hunter residents use an average of 190 to 200 litres of water each day, which is 10 per cent more than recommended.
In February and March the region used 12.8 million litres of water.
Hunter Water CEO Jim Bentley said daily water usage in summer was often double what it was in winter.
He said the region should try to save as much water as it could over the next three months.
"In the United Kingdom residents use 140 litres per day. The reason for the difference is not the amount of water people need to drink, it's the living environment. In the UK it rains a lot and in the Hunter, and across NSW, we are in drought so we need to be more careful," he said.
If we all really thought about it, and we all did as much as we could, we could save a huge amount of water. Everything we can do over winter will help us to have more water as we move into summer.
"On a hot summer day the evaporation from Grahamstown Dam, which is wide and shallow, is massive. We need to be in the high 70s to be in a good position for summer."
The Hunter has received below average rainfall this year and that is set to continue until at least the end of July, according to the Bureau of Meterology.
There is a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino forming in the next few months, which would cement a pattern of low rainfall and bring higher than average temperatures.
The entire region, and most of the state, is still battling drought, NSW Department of Primary Industries data shows.
Mr Bentley said storage levels had remained steady over the past six weeks, which was mainly due to lower temperatures and less demand for water.
He said rain during autumn had provided a 10 per cent boost to levels and the Hunter was fairing better than other parts of the state.
"We are better than the west and the Central Coast and Sydney. In autumn we all got rain but we got about a 10 per cent gain, which was more than the Central Coast and Sydney had," he said.
"We are looking for more rain in the catchment area."