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Urgent water conservation called for

Urgent water conservation called for

Christchurch residents must conserve water now or face likely water restrictions, says the City Council.

Water levels are now so low in Council water supply wells that water pressure has dropped in some areas of the city. Low reservoir and pressure levels could pose a fire-fighting risk or lead to household appliances which require water, taking longer than normal to fill, says City Water and Waste manager, Mike Stockwell.

Conservation measures are imperative to ensure the situation does not worsen. The Council has a legal obligation to hold reservoirs at a certain level for fire fighting needs. Once supplies go below that mark, the Council will have to start restricting water supply to households, he says.

Environment Canterbury supports the call for water conservation, saying that recent checks show groundwater and river levels continue to fall in the Christchurch area due to continued demand on groundwater pumping.

The recent dry spell has reduced water levels in most of the city's artesian supply wells to almost record lows, which has made it difficult keeping hillside reservoirs filled and created low water pressure in some areas of the city.

In response, the Council is boosting its WaterWise campaign in newspapers and on radio, urging increased water conservation. Good ideas on how to conserve water are available on the www.ccc.govt.nz/water/waterwise Council website.

Conservation measures include:
- watering gardens only with a hand-held hose,
- reducing vehicle washing,
- turning off unnecessary running taps (eg whilst cleaning teeth) and so on.

If hot weather continues, a last resort will be to place restrictions on the use of water in gardens, Mr Stockwell says.

Further Information

According to the City Council:

- Rainfall during the last 12 months has been two-thirds normal levels.

- Low-pressure areas of the city appear to be New Brighton, Parklands, Burnside, Hillside areas and Sumner.

According to ECan:
- There was a temporary improvement following last week's rain, resulting in a marked increase in pressure in confined aquifers and some increase in the Avon River flow (as recorded at Gloucester Street) over a period of three days. However, since then levels have again declined and further checks this week show Avon River flow of about 1200 litres per second (lower than was anticipated when commenting on river flow conditions last week).

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