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Published 5/02/2016

Dry weather takes toll on water supply

Wellington Water is calling for householders to be water smart as the run of dry weather has led to a dramatic jump in consumption.

Water demand yesterday for Lower Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington hit 168 million litres (ML) – much higher than the same time last week (Thursday 28 January was 138 ML).

“Our river-based water supply means water demand rises at the same time as the supplies begin to dry up” says Alex van Paassen, Wellington Water’s Community Engagement Manager.

“That’s why we have storage lakes – to cover the difference. But once we start emptying those out, the next steps are bans on watering systems.”

The last significant rain was on Monday 18 January and the 14-day regional forecast has no rain in the immediate future.

“We’ve had a pretty dry past couple of months and we still have our driest month ahead of us. If we all use water with care right now, what we’ve got will last longer and we’ll avoid any further restrictions.

Routine “odds & evens” watering restrictions are now in effect with unattended watering (such as sprinklers) only allowed on set days and times, according to your street address. Water patrols are also out and about talking to people who are watering on the wrong day.

Four simple steps to keep your garden healthy and conserve water at the same time:

  • Check that your soil needs watering first (you only need to water if soil is dry 10 cm below the surface)
  • Water only your plants’ roots
  • Time sprinkler sessions to 30 minutes – once a week should be enough
  • Use mulch on garden beds to retain moisture for longer (only apply mulch to well watered soil)

Odds and evens garden watering restrictions

You can only use a single garden sprinkler, irrigation system or unattended hose between 6am-8am and 7pm-9pm on the following days, depending on where you live:

Lower Hutt, Porirua, Wellington

  • Even-numbered street addresses on even days of the month
    • Odd-numbered street addresses on odd days of the month

Upper Hutt

  • Even-numbered street addresses on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only
    • Odd-numbered street addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only

These restrictions apply year-round in Upper Hutt and during Daylight Saving in Lower Hutt, Porirua and Wellington (ends 3 April 2016).

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