Garden watering is limited to handheld hoses only in Masterton. PHOTO/ADOBE.STOCK.COM

Ongoing dry conditions have forced a ban on sprinklers in Masterton, with garden watering limited to handheld hoses only until the level of the Waingawa River improves.

The flows in the river, which is the source of Masterton’s drinking water, have fallen below 1300 litres per second.

Masterton District Council’s manager assets and operations David Hopman said the restriction to using only handheld hoses was unusual, but warned forecasts indicated even tighter restrictions may be necessary.

All watering would be prohibited if flows fall below 1100 litres per second.

“We appreciate that garden lovers in Masterton will find being unable to use sprinklers tough, but we are going through an unusually dry period.

“And weather forecasts do not show much significant rain in the next month, which will put the river under even greater strain.

“That could mean a total watering ban is required in coming weeks.

“That’s something we’ve avoided, with the help of the weather, for about a decade, and is not a step we would take lightly.”

Watering was last limited to handheld hoses briefly in October 2018, before a very wet November and December eased the situation.

Hopman said gardeners should be able to keep plants healthy using handheld hoses.

Elsewhere in Wairarapa, handheld hoses are to be used on alternate days in Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, and Martinborough.

For those on the Taratahi and Carrington Water Race, water can only be used for the purpose of stock drinking water and domestic toilets.