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Sprinkler ban likely around Wellington

26 February 2013

Sprinkler ban likely

A sprinkler and irrigation system ban is likely to come into effect for Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua and Wellington cities within the next few days, as a result of continuing low river levels and a weather forecast of no significant rainfall within the next two weeks.

The rivers that provide about two-thirds of the water supply for the region’s cities remain low and have dropped faster than expected over the past week. The water available in our water supply rivers has now dropped below 100 million litres (ML) per day compared to 130ML available just five days ago. The last significant rainfall was three weeks ago, on Monday 4 February, and the long-range forecast is for dry weather for the next 14 days.

While 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. Greater Wellington Regional Council is likely to have to start supplementing the water take from rivers with water from the one available Stuart Macaskill storage lake by Friday.

The Regional Council’s Social and Cultural Wellbeing Committee Chair, Nigel Wilson, is encouraging the community to make an effort to keep water use down.

“It’s important that people take care with the water we have available. If put into effect, a sprinkler ban should help keep demand low and assist with making sure we have enough water to last us through until the next spell of significant rainfall,” says Cr Wilson.

Despite the good weather this summer, water use has been relatively low, but Cr Wilson says it is starting to rise. “Water use has been low this summer which is great, but this last spell of fine weather has seen it starting to increase. I encourage people to continue their water saving efforts to keep demand in check.”

In addition to the likely sprinkler and irrigation system ban and using water from the storage lake, the regional council will be relying more heavily on the Hutt aquifer and will be looking at activating its consent to take more water from the Hutt River at Kaitoke.

Greater Wellington Regional Council supplies water to Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington. Local authorities will introduce a sprinkler and irrigation system ban at the request of the regional council.

Water saving tips:
• Use a flow control trigger on hoses
• Target watering close to the ground, at a rate the soil can absorb
• Sweep up garden waste instead of hosing it away
• Put off non-essential outdoor jobs, like washing windows or the car, until autumn

For more water saving tips visit http://www.gw.govt.nz/water

ENDS

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