Water saving in Whangarei’s parks and reserves
With water levels falling so low in several parts of the Far North and Kaipara Districts, Whangarei District Council is preparing for the possibility that it may have to supply some water to other districts.
In preparation, it is taking stronger measures to preserve dam water, reducing own water use in parks and reserves, and is likely to introduce water restrictions across the District in coming weeks.
Parks and Recreation Manager Sue Hodge said her department and its contractors moved to their own “level two” water restrictions this week. Measures include reducing the watering schedule from 20-minutes intervals four times a week to three times a fortnight.
“We will continue to do some watering of sports fields to retain the grass surfaces so they do not need to be closed in the autumn for renovation – that would delay use by sports clubs. Sports fields are very important to the community and our aim is to balance this with the responsible use of water.
“Annual bedding displays (the stunning flowers that our visitors comment on) will be watered less, and we will stop watering hanging baskets as these get replaced each season. We will continue deep watering our new amenity trees. If levels in our storage fall to lower levels we will to cease watering.
“At the same time, we are looking at whether we can use the clean water produced by the Waste Water Treatment Plant. This would require a resource consent from the Northland Regional Council.
“If the consent application is approved, we will use this water on annuals, for deep watering amenity trees and some sports fields so they can be available for play in March. We will not use this water for hanging baskets.
“We have investigated the health and cultural aspects, and we understand that it will be ok to use this water for short term emergency works, so long as it is not used near waterways, not applied to food crops and that the public are excluded from areas being watered with it.
“Public consultation would be required if this was to become anything other than an emergency measure.”
Whangarei District Council Water Services Manager Andrew Venmore said Council’s efforts to minimise “lost water” were continuing and urged members of the public to conserve water in their own households and businesses, and to report any sign of leaks in the public water system.
“We would consider our current supplies to be quite good for this time of year, especially if we got some good summer rain,” he said.
“The problem is that no rain is predicted for many weeks ahead, and the water levels in our dams and other resources will keep falling in the meantime, and we may need to help the people in our neighbouring districts.
“The more conservative we are now, the longer our supplies will last before we have to bring in official restrictions.”