New rules may mean weeks of dry days ahead
It could be a dry summer for Masterton gardens, with total watering bans in place at times of low flow on the Waingawa River.
Masterton District Council is putting in place new restrictions that would completely stop the watering of gardens in order to meet the conditions of new consents, negotiated with Greater Wellington Regional Council.
For the first time, there will be complete watering bans throughout Masterton if the river flow goes below 1100 litres per second, something forecast to happen up to 20 days this summer.
Previously, the strictest restriction had limited watering to handheld hoses on alternate days.
The water conservation plan will be discussed at tomorrow’s infrastructure services committee meeting.
Council acting chief executive David Hopman said the council had been working with the regional council to better understand how to balance water consumption with preserving the health of the district’s rivers.
The council’s well-being strategy – Our People, Our Land: He Hiringa Tangata, He Hiringa Whenua – includes a focus on environmental development.
Hopman said water conservation was a priority as the council worked to “ensure sustainable environments for future generations”.
“Water conservation is incredibly important for our district as it’s only going to become scarcer in the future.
“This summer our water restrictions are going to change.
“People have become familiar with the fact they are restricted to using handheld hoses only on alternate days during summer.
“The reality is that this restriction may escalate to a complete watering ban for a period of time during summer, depending on the level of the rivers.”
Before a total ban, lowering flows would lead to sprinklers being limited to alternate days, and then a total sprinkler ban, with only handheld hosepipes allowed on alternate days.
Hopman said he accepted there was likely to be some resistance to the change, but all parts of the community were being forced to reassess water consumption.
“That includes us – we have sportfields and plantings that we need to consider when planning our water consumption.
“While some of this water use is on different consents, we need to look at our water-use behaviour on a holistic level.”
Residents will be encouraged to get water-wise in the lead-up to summer with educational materials available on the Masterton District Council website and Facebook page from spring onwards.