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Record “dry” for water supply

News release

3 December 2010

Record “dry” for water supply

As signs of a dry summer grow, Greater Wellington is calling on residents of Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington to take extra care with their water use – especially for gardening and other outdoor uses.

Rainfall was well below normal in Wellington’s water supply catchments last month – including a record low total at Kaitoke in Upper Hutt – and river levels are suffering.

“This could be a very tough summer for water supply so I urge people to start going easy with water whenever possible,” says Cr Nigel Wilson, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Cultural and Social Wellbeing Committee.

Rivers usually provide more than half of the water supply for the four cities. At the end of November, flow in the Hutt River at Kaitoke weir was just 17% of the November average, while flow in the Wainuiomata River was 30% of its November average. The Hutt aquifer’s level was at 97% of its November average.

Cr Wilson says while the most recent long-range summer climate outlook indicates average rainfall, there is little sign of that so far, or of an improvement soon.

“The forecast for the next two weeks shows very little rain and we’ve just had to start using the Stuart Mackaskill storage lakes to help meet demand. With most of the summer in front of us and the current dry conditions, we may have to look at extra watering restrictions before Christmas.”

City council watering restrictions currently allow watering with unattended sprinklers and irrigation systems on alternate days, depending on street address, between 6-8am and 7-9pm. Contact Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington city councils for local details.

For water efficiency and conservation tips, see wwwbethedifference.gw.govt.nz.

ENDS

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