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Water Restrictions Continue In Picton And Waikawa

Every drop counts - that’s still the message to Picton and Waikawa residents and visitors who are being asked to continue to save water.

A total sprinkler ban remains in place as well as no boat or car washing and limits on Council’s irrigation of local parks.

Council’s Operations and Maintenance Engineer Stephen Rooney says the community’s response to the call to save water has been helpful. “We thank everyone again for their efforts and say ‘keep it up’ and do more if you can,” he said.

“Make every drop count. Don’t use sprinklers, take a short shower, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and don’t wash your car or boat.”

Hand-held hoses are permitted for watering gardens.

The restrictions are:

  • A total sprinkler ban
  • No boat or car washing
  • Limits on irrigation at Endeavour Park
  • Closure of the water play area on the Picton Foreshore
  • Limits place on commercial water use including by cruise ships

The restrictions apply to all properties on the Picton and Waikawa supply until further notice.

Mr Rooney said the Council had long planned to install waters meters in the town, beginning this year or next.

“Water meters encourage people to conserve water. After meters were installed in Renwick, Seddon, Wairau Valley and Havelock we have seen demand drop in those townships by up to 35 per cent. Wasteful leaks have also been eliminated through the metering programme.”

“There are no cheap or easy options for sourcing more fresh water for Picton so metering is by far our best and most cost effective solution for reducing future demand.”

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He said the Barnes Dam in Essons Valley has storage for 58,600 m3 of water.

“The Essons Valley treatment plant usually delivers between 600 and 1800 m3 at a flow rate of 25 litres per second. However, as summer progresses and natural flows from the catchment reduce, the volume of water behind the dam reduces. When the natural flow reduces, the water behind the dam begins to warm up, which encourages algal growth. The algae in turn makes the water much harder for us to treat. If we’re unable to treat the water, access to about a third of Picton’s drinking water source is lost.”

“This algal process normally occurs much later in the summer and coincides with less garden watering, so usually water restrictions are not necessary. However, this year the algal growth and warming started early and quite suddenly, mainly due to the dry spring caused by the El Nino weather pattern.”

“We went from treating 1,800 m3 per day to not being able to treat at all within four days - the speed of the change was unusual this year.”

“These are the first major water restrictions we’ve seen in Picton since the summer of 2000/01.”

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