Water restrictions already in place in Waikato as use surges

Sprinklers are being restricted across the Waikato following a spell of fine, hot weather. Photo / Duncan Brown
Sprinklers are being restricted across the Waikato following a spell of fine, hot weather. Photo / Duncan Brown

There has been thunder and some heavy rain in Waikato this week but the district including Hamilton city and neighbouring Waipa are now on a water alert level 1.

It means sprinklers can only be used between 6am and 8am, and 6pm and 8pm at homes across those areas. Garden hoses may still be used at any time.

The move to water alert level 1 was triggered by a significant increase in water consumption across the region, according to a joint announcement by the three councils, Waikato, Waipa and Hamilton.

The statement said warmer weather had led to the increase in water consumption and since this time last month, use of Waikato District Council-supplied water had increased by 5 per cent a week.

Waikato District Council waters manager Karl Pavlovich said even though all of the council's water supply was now metered, water conservation was still an important part of managing the economic and ecological impact of water supply.

"The alert levels are key reminders or check-in points for our communities on how much water we are using as a whole and provide our residents a point to reflect on how they are using their water," Pavlovich said.

"Even though we've had a very wet year so far, we still need to react to the increased demand and the community can play their part by using water wisely ahead of what could be a long, dry summer.

"There are lots of ways to conserve water, taking shorter showers, watering the garden by hand, or washing your car on a piece of lawn which needs watering can save hundreds of litres a day."

Hamilton City Council city waters manager Maire Porter said recent summery weather had caused a noticeable jump in water use in the city.

"Over the past two weeks the city's water use has increased by over 20 per cent, the warmer weather means pools are being filled and sprinklers are being turned on."

Waipa District Council water services manager Tony Hale said it was unusual to see water usage peak so early in the season.

"We have been monitoring the district's water usage closely over the past few weeks and have seen a significant increase in usage as the sun has come out.

"In the past two weeks Waipa's water use has increased from 187 to 203 million litres, up 14 million litres from the same time last year.

"While it is tempting to turn on the sprinklers and rush to fill up our pools, it's essential we all play our part to conserve water now so we will all be better off in the long run."

- NZ Herald

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