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Water restrictions in place

Water restrictions have been put in place for all Wairarapa. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

Continued dry conditions have pushed areas of Wairarapa to introduce water restrictions for the first time this summer.

After a wetter than normal December, according to Niwa forecaster Nava Fedaeff, Wairarapa is now beginning to put water restrictions in place.

Masterton District Council [MDC] introduced restrictions on Monday, now only allowing sprinklers to be used on alternate days.

MDC chief executive David Hopman said pre-Christmas restrictions were common, and the January start had allowed gardeners to prepare.

“We were lucky with rain in December, meaning a relatively late start to restrictions, but gardeners will be familiar with how restrictions work, and there are steps they can take to manage the conditions.

“Spreading mulch is one way to reduce the loss of moisture, and some form of water storage is useful to save water when it does rain.”

MDC said restrictions were linked to flow levels in the Waingawa River, Masterton’s main drinking water source.

“When the river’s flow rate falls below 2000 litres per second, sprinkler use is limited to alternate days; odd-numbered houses on odd days, evens on even days.”

It said restrictions were publicised on the council’s website, Facebook page, and the Antenno app.

Hopman said the restriction on sprinkler use would remain in place until the end of summer – the end of March.

He said a complete sprinkler ban would be put in place if river flow rates fell below 1300 litres per second.

Hopman said handheld hoses could be used during sprinkler restrictions, but all watering would be prohibited if river flows fell below 1100 litres per second.

“While the restriction on sprinkler use will now remain in place until the end of summer, we will be responsive to changing river flows when imposing or lifting other restrictions.

“Gardeners should be aware that some changes are likely, depending on rainfall.”

Hopman said close to 90 per cent of urban Masterton homes had water meters installed.

He said the meters would not be used for charging purposes until the 2023 to 2024 financial year but could be used to identify potential leaks.

“If all taps are turned off, and numbers on the meter are continuing to turn, it may indicate a leak, and the council should be contacted.”

Carterton District Council [CDC] asked its residents to limit outdoor watering, also using sprinkler systems on alternate days.

“Restrictions will stay in place until water usage levels, and the flow of water sources, return to sustainable levels.”

It said usage and supply figures meant further restrictions, including using handheld hoses only, would implemented soon.

CDC said December’s water use was, on average, above the daily 2500 cubic metre limit.

It said dry weather had lowered levels from the main source, the Kaipatangata stream, and the water supply will now come from bores.

Wellington Water said South Wairarapa had the same restrictions as the other two councils.

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