A sprinkler restriction is now in place for Masterton due to low flow levels in the Waingawa River, which sources Masterton’s drinking water.
Masterton District Council ordered the restriction as the river flow had fallen below 2000 litres per second.
Sprinkler use would be limited to alternate days – with odd-numbered houses allowed to water gardens on odd days, and even-numbered houses on even days.
Council manager of assets and operations David Hopman said it was unusual for sprinkler restrictions to start after Christmas.
“Water restrictions are normally in place in November – not this late in summer. But we’ve been lucky with a wet spring and early summer,” he said.
“Now it’s important that we take steps to preserve the health of the river by limiting non-essential water use.”
The restriction on sprinkler use would remain in place until the end of summer. A complete sprinkler ban would be introduced if river flow rates fell below 1300 litres per second.
Handheld hoses could still be used during sprinkler restrictions, but all watering would be prohibited if flow levels fell below 1100 litres per second.
“Water restrictions over summer are a fact of life in Masterton, and many other parts of the country,” Hopman said.
“We are very appreciative of the steps Masterton residents take to conserve water.”
The council was also working to save water, he said.
“We spend around $40,000 each year on leak detection, and the current installation of water meters will give us a better information on what is happening to water.”
Nearly 75 per cent of urban Masterton homes now had water meters installed. These would be used for charging purposes from the 2021/22 financial year and could be used to identify potential leaks in the meantime.