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Published 30/01/2019

Baking hot days prompt call for ‘mindful’ water use

Wellington Water is asking residents to be mindful with their water use as the hot weather baking the country enters a third day.

While long term water storage levels are good, unprecedented daily demand has been putting the supply system under pressure, said Jeremy McKibbin, acting general manager of operations for Wellington Water.

“The network can struggle with refilling reservoirs overnight when there’s excessive use. Of course we recognise it’s hot, and using water to cool the kids off is part of what summer’s all about. We just want people to be mindful and not waste it. Make sure water goes where it’s useful. Put off washing the windows or watering the lawn for a few days until it cools down.”

Mr McKibbin said water use had jumped up right across Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua.  If key reservoirs in these cities could not be refilled to normal operating levels, it could lead to reduced pressure and water quality issues as sediment in the reservoirs was stirred up.

Typical daily use on a warm day in the four cities, including at commercial premises, is about 160 million litres, or about 400 litres per person. Over the past three days, that’s jumped to more than 180 million litres a day. During the winter, the daily average is around 140 million litres.

Mr McKibbin said current garden watering restrictions in place could be increased if hot dry weather continued.

“We’re not expecting to do that at the moment, but things can change quickly. The rivers that we get much of our drinking water from drop very quickly at this time of year. So it’s really important that we respect this precious resource, and watch every drop.”

The hot weather also dries out the ground and can create more minor leaks in the network.

“We would like to thank residents for the increased reporting of these, it has created a backlog of lower priority work however we have put on extra staff to deal with this. We encourage residents to continue to report leaks and individually do their part to conserve water, as it makes a difference to everybody.”

Watering restrictions currently in place limit people to the use of a single sprinkler or irrigation system between 6-8am and 7-9pm on alternate days, with odd numbered houses watering on odd numbered days and even numbered houses watering on even numbered days.

To help avoid further garden watering restrictions try out some of these easy water-saving tips:

  • Head to the beach or local pool rather than cooling off with the hose in the backyard
  • Mulch your garden to help retain the moisture
  • Fix any leaky taps around the home
  • Clean driveways with brooms not hoses, and use a bucket when cleaning the car.

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