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Outdoor water ban to be lifted

Media release

8 April 2013

Outdoor water ban to be lifted

The ban on all outdoor water use will be lifted from 9am tomorrow morning following a recommendation to local councils from the Regional Council.

On its own, the rain received in the weekend would not be significant enough to lift the ban. However, combined with water savings from the public, a small amount of rain for the last two weekends and some promising rain forecast for next week, the projection for river levels and the Regional Council’s ability to meet supply is more positive.

Water Supply General Manager Chris Laidlow says that the public response to the water shortage has seen demand drop significantly.

“As the public got behind the water conservation message, demand dropped from over 160 million litres per day (ML/day) to around 120-130 ML/day. This has allowed us to meet supply without having to use any stored water during times when rivers have been quite low. This has put us in a better position now,” says Laidlow.

“In the event of continuing dry weather, we’ll be able to supply water from rivers and the aquifer for four-five weeks before we’d have to look at using water from the storage lakes. Of course, this is dependent on demand staying at a reasonable level.”

Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde says water users in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Upper Hutt are to be congratulated for their water saving efforts.

“Thank you Wellingtonians for getting behind the cause. The impressive drop in demand is what got us through it, so you really should be very proud of yourselves.”

Chair Wilde is encouraging water users to continue on with their water-saving measures once the outdoor water ban is lifted.

“Worst case scenario, if we don’t get the rain that we expect, we’ll need to look at putting some level of restrictions back on so I urge people to continue saving water. Just because the outdoor water ban has been lifted doesn’t mean we can go for broke.”

The drought has made many people conscious that the notion of water being abundant in Wellington is not true – and it’s not free either, says Chair Wilde.

“I think most of us have realised that we take our drinking water for granted sometimes. Saving water shouldn’t just be something we do in times of drought, or when restrictions tell us we have to. We need to be aware that demand for water impacts on planning for the future. If lower water use in the region can delay the building of more water storage infrastructure, then there’s a huge cost saving for the whole community.”

Regular “odds and evens” watering restrictions for sprinklers and fixed irrigation systems still apply in Wellington and Upper Hutt – check with your city council for details.

Keep up the good work conserving water, outside as well as indoors. Even small steps help, like:

• fitting a trigger nozzle to your hose

• using a bucket of water and a soft sponge or mop for outdoor cleaning jobs

• sweeping up garden waste, rather than hosing it away

• fixing leaks promptly

• doing only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher

• taking shorter showers

ends


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