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Water supply rivers low

News release

24 January 2008

Water supply rivers low

Greater Wellington's annual summer water conservation campaign has started with calls for careful garden watering in newspapers and on the radio, as river levels continue to be low in spite of rain in early January.

“Even though we’ve had some downpours over the last few weeks, it hasn’t been enough to boost our water supply rivers, so we must continue taking extra care to conserve water,” says Greater Wellington’s Parks, Forests and Utilities Committee Chairman Rex Kirton.

The water conservation campaign coincides with increasing water use, as people return from their summer holidays. “Garden watering is the main reason for high summer demand, so we want to make sure that people know our water sources are under pressure right now, and that how they use water makes a difference," says Cr Kirton.

A garden hose or sprinkler used carelessly can waste 1,000 litres of water an hour – as much water as the daily needs of a family during winter. To conserve water and help avoid the need for tougher restrictions, gardeners can follow these four simple steps:

- Use mulch

- Check that your soil needs watering first

- Water only your plant’s roots

- Time sprinkler sessions to 30 minutes – once a week should be enough

The flow in the Hutt River at Greater Wellington's Kaitoke intake last month was just a third of the December average, while the flow at its Wainuiomata River intake was less than one-third of the average. Greater Wellington’s water catchments need a sustained period of rainfall to boost the water supply and current predictions are that the summer will continue to be warm and dry.

The Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils support Greater Wellington's water conservation campaign and each council currently has restrictions on 'unattended' watering (eg. use of sprinklers) in place. Restriction details are published in local newspapers or residents can contact their city council to find out more.

Water conservation tips and the opportunity to win an irrigation system can be found on Greater Wellington's 'Be the Difference' website www.bethedifference.gw.govt.nz


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