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Sprinkler ban lifted

News release

9 April 2008

Sprinkler ban lifted

The ban on domestic sprinkler and irrigation systems in Lower Hutt, Wellington, Upper Hutt and Porirua has been lifted following persistent rainfall over the last two weekends.

The ban, which was imposed on 26 February 2008 by Greater Wellington and the four city councils, has been in place for longer than any water use ban since Greater Wellington became responsible for bulk water supply in 1980.

"We've had the toughest summer for water supply in over 25 years and were on the verge of a hosing ban before the rain at the end of the March," says Cr Rex Kirton, Chair of Greater Wellington's Parks, Forests and Utilities Committee.

Water output from the Wainuiomata, Orongorongo and Hutt rivers and the Waiwhetu Aquifer has increased substantially since 28 March, and the Te Marua storage lakes are back to over 50% full.

Cr Kirton says that the recent rainfall coupled with daylight saving ending – which usually coincides with reduced garden watering – means it's unlikely that water usage will bounce back significantly.

"I'd like to thank the community for making an effort to conserve water when things were getting tough. However, although the ban has been lifted, people should continue to use water with care. The sprinkler ban was a timely reminder that the four cities can face water shortages during extended periods of low rainfall, like those we have recently experienced."

Cr Kirton says that investigations of options to reduce the risk of shortages were already underway before the dry summer came. Over the coming months, Greater Wellington will be working with the region's local councils on a region-wide water strategy to ensure that the region continues to have enough water to meet the needs of domestic and commercial users, and support regional growth.

ENDS

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