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Hamilton encouraged to adopt smart water use

Hamilton residents encouraged to adopt ‘smart water use’ 28 NOVEMBER 2008

For immediate release

New water alert levels will come into effect in Hamilton next week, as part of a regional collaborative effort aimed at promoting proactive water conservation.

Dubbed ‘Smart Water Use’, the initiative sees Hamilton City Council join forces with Environment Waikato and other territorial authorities throughout the greater Waikato to encourage residents to treat water as a ‘limited and precious resource’.

Last summer’s dry conditions saw Hamilton approach the maximum volumes of water it could source from the Waikato River. Treating and reticulating these extremely high volumes of water was a significant financial cost and ongoing use of these amounts was simply not sustainable, therefore a total ban on domestic garden sprinklers was introduced to help reduce the city’s water consumption – the first time in more than 20 years that such as measure was taken.

With long-term weather forecasts suggesting the area could once again experience a similar dry spell, Hamilton City Council Treatment Plants Manager Tim Harty said it is important residents take proactive steps now to avoid the need for similar restrictions this summer. “The world is changing its attitude to water as a resource. While we in Hamilton may not have needed to think about water in these terms before, the time has arrived when we need to.

“By using water responsibly there will be plenty of water available for all – Some conservation and a small change in behaviour in terms of how we use water in the home and at work will make a big difference.”

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The new water alert levels are a more comprehensive water conservation approach which replaces the alternate day sprinkler restrictions which came into effect on 1 December in previous years.

Water alert level one sees water sprinkler systems permitted between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm only, while water alert level two means water sprinkler systems will be permitted between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm on alternative days only. There will be no restrictions of commercial/non-residential properties when the city is at these levels. Water alert level three means there will be restrictions on outdoor water use for commercial/non-residential properties and a total ban on domestic sprinklers, with only hand held hosing permitted.

Lastly, water alert level four will see a total ban on all non essential use of water, including on commercial and non residential properties.

Hamilton City Council will initiate a rise in water alert levels when a high volume of water has been consumed over a sustained period. Alternatively when consumption volumes are reduced over a sustained period, alert levels can then be lowered. Mr Harty said that based on the city’s current water usage, it is possible Hamilton will be placed on ‘alert level one’ when the new water alert level system comes into effect next Monday [1 December].

“These water alert levels and their corresponding restrictions aim to guide water use in a sustainable manner and ensure consistent supply throughout the summer,” he said. The water alert levels will be published regularly in the Waikato Times, as well as on www.hamilton.co.nz/smartwateruse to keep residents up to date with the city’s water consumption.

Other Smart Water Use initiatives will include educational collateral and a focus group, which will see a number of households fitted with water meters and provided with tool kits to help them conserve water throughout the summer months. More information on Smart Water Use is available on www.hamilton.co.nz/smartwateruse

ENDS

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