Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
A ban on the use of garden sprinklers and irrigation systems will come into force from 9am Saturday as a result of low river levels due to the latest spell of dry weather.
The Porirua, Hutt, Wellington, and Upper Hutt city councils have agreed to impose this next stage of their watering restrictions at the request of Greater Wellington Regional Council, which supplies the councils with bulk water for distribution.
The ban means that household use of garden sprinklers, irrigation systems and other forms of unattended watering are not permitted at any time. Careful watering by hand is still okay.
The decision to implement the sprinkler ban was triggered by falling river levels and heavy use of the Hutt aquifer over the last few days to keep pace with demand. The Regional Council expects to start using some stored water from lakes daily from this weekend and to activate a further take from the Hutt River early next week.
While people may still water by hand, city councils may impose a total ban on household use of hoses if the situation worsens. The regional council will be assessing the situation daily and advising city councils if a hosing ban is required.
Nigel Wilson, Chair of the Regional Council’s Social and Cultural Wellbeing Committee, says the primary objective of the sprinkler ban is to ensure there’s enough water to meet essential needs over the coming weeks.
“We don’t like to have to ask the city councils to impose extra watering restrictions on water users if we can help it,” says Cr Wilson. “But unfortunately we can’t rely on the rivers to contribute as much as they normally do to overall water supply for the four cities.
“It’s about making sure that the alternative water sources we have available are not depleted too quickly, and will last until some significant rain increases the levels in our water supply rivers.
“Until then, we are asking people to manage their water use with extra care. We’d like to see demand drop in the order of eight to ten million litres a day, which means on average each person in the four cities needs to reduce their water use by 20 to 25 litres per day. If we can keep demand for water low, then what we’ve got will last longer and we can hopefully avoid a major water shortage.”
Ideas to save water:
• Use a flow control trigger on hoses
• Sweep up garden waste instead of hosing it away
• Put off non-essential outdoor jobs, like washing windows or the car, until the water supply situation improves
See www.gw.govt.nz/water for more water-saving tips
Greater Wellington Regional Council supplies water to Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington. While stored water is normally held in the two Stuart Macaskill storage lakes at Te Marua to supplement low river flows, only one of the lakes is available this summer as the other is being earthquake-strengthened.
City councils are responsible for setting and enforcing the watering restrictions and bans so people should check with their local city council if they need more information on current restrictions in their area