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Auckland Council Adopts Cautious Approach To Adjusting Water Restrictions

Auckland Council resolved today to maintain residential water restrictions for the time being and, from October 12, to slightly adjust restrictions on outdoor water use by businesses.

Mayor Phil Goff said good progress has been made, with Aucklanders saving up to 40 million litres of water a day, and Watercare on track to boost supply by another 40 million litres a day by December.

“I want to acknowledge Aucklanders’ efforts to conserve water and the work by Council and Watercare to increase water supply capacity,” Phil Goff said.

“We have secured consents to take more water from the Waikato River, which is now providing up to an additional 25 million litres a day. With the construction of new water treatment facilities at Tuakau, that will increase by a further 50 million litres a day by mid-2021.

“We are also on track to draw another 15 million litres a day from bores, an aquifer and the new Hays Creek water treatment plant due for completion in December.

“However, with two consecutive years of severe drought and an average to dry spring predicted, we are not out of the woods yet. The council is therefore taking a conservative approach to adjusting water restrictions.

“Restrictions on businesses will change slightly from October 12, with commercial water users able to use outdoor hoses that are equipped with a handheld trigger nozzle. Commercial car washes will also be allowed to operate; however, the ban on the use of fire hydrants for outdoor construction will continue.

“These changes will limit the economic costs mandatory restrictions have placed on businesses such as nurseries and water blasting contractors that, like many businesses, are also under pressure due to COVID-19.

“We will monitor carefully what impact the adjustment to commercial restrictions has on demand, but it is expected to be relatively small.

“Any decision on lifting restrictions on outdoor residential use of water, such as using hoses, will be deferred until December, when we will have a clearer idea of whether dam levels have further recovered and more reliable summer weather forecasts,” Phil Goff said.

“I want to thank Aucklanders—both commercial and residential users—for their efforts to conserve water.”

Councillor Linda Cooper, who chairs the Regulatory Committee and is the liaison councillor for Watercare, said, “I’m pleased to see the water restrictions adjusted for commercial users, but it’s still important that everyone continues to save water. This is the best way to ensure that restrictions can also be adjusted for residential users in December.”

The effectiveness of the adjusted restrictions will be monitored, and the restrictions will be reviewed again in December 2020. This review will consider the level of Auckland’s dams as well as updated summer weather forecasts.

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