South Wairarapa District moved to Level 2 Water Restrictions at one minute past midnight on Saturday.
This means residential residents in the district – which includes Greytown, Featherston, and Martinborough – are expected to stop using sprinklers, soaker hoses, and irrigation systems, despite the area having 103 leaks in its public water network that caused the loss of about 46 per cent of water supplied in the past financial year.
Residents can still water their garden at any time as long as it’s “by hand”, such as by a hose – as long as it’s not left unattended.
The decision was made due to the increased demand for water over the past two weeks and the recent dry weather in the region, which has meant that reservoir levels in the district have not recovered to full capacity [one of them was at just 55 per cent capacity on Friday].
The move came after Wellington Water recommended that Level 2 Water Restrictions be put in place to help cut down on water demand “and reduce the risk of having more severe, longer water restrictions later on”, says Stefan Corbett, partnerships and operations group manager for South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] said.
Corbett also noted that, although the restrictions only apply to residential properties, businesses across the district are also being asked to “take steps to reduce their water usage where possible”.
“If we all do our bit, then we can hopefully avoid further restrictions.”
South Wairarapa residents are also being encouraged to “make simple changes to reduce their water use”.
“Small changes such as taking shorter showers of no more than four minutes, not running the tap while brushing your teeth, and only doing full loads of washing call all make a real difference,” Corbett said.
Although Wellington Water acting chief executive Susannah Cullen acknowledged residents’ frustration at being asked to conserve water when so much of the network’s water is being lost to leaks, she noted there isn’t sufficient funding from SWDC to fix all of them.
However, there was not enough funding from the council to fix all the leaks, Cullen said.
“The biggest challenge for us – which is faced by councils across the country – is having enough funding to put towards finding and fixing leaks,” she said.
Wellington Water will continue to closely monitor the situation and work closely with SWDC regarding the risk of further water restrictions this summer.
For tips on saving water, visit www.wellingtonwater.co.nz and search for ‘water calculator’.