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Published 12/02/2021

Media release: Garden watering restrictions increase to sprinkler ban

Due to increasing water demand and falling river levels, a residential sprinkler and irrigation system ban will take effect in Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Wellington from midnight tonight, Friday 12 February 2021.

Over the past week, usage has been consistently above our target maximum of 170 million litres per day. These higher levels are unsustainable when our supply river levels decline. We need to ensure there’s enough water in the rivers to maintain a healthy eco-system and that our stored water back-up will last through the rest of the dry weather.

Laurence Edwards, Wellington Water’s Chief Advisor for drinking water says that while a few showers this week did reduce demand slightly, this was likely to be only temporary. “The outlook is for a return to warm dry weather, and a short burst of rain is unlikely to have a significant long-term effect on demand or river levels.”

Metropolitan Wellingtonians usually drink water from sourced from rivers in Kaitoke and Wainuiomata catchments, and from the Waiwhetu aquifer beneath the Hutt Valley. As the water available from rivers declines, supply is supplemented by water collected and stored in two lakes at Te Marua. This water needs to last until the dry period comes to an end.

A similar ban is also being introduced in Martinborough, in line with the other South Wairarapa towns of Featherston and Greytown.

What the ban means:

  • The use of sprinklers and all unattended residential watering systems is banned.
  • Careful watering by handheld hose is still permitted
  • Councils, golf courses and bowling greens are asked to manage their watering programmes carefully.

How residents can save water:

  • Follow water saving tips like using buckets to wash the car, or a broom to sweep the path, rather than the hose.
  • Use hand held watering methods for your garden
  • Report leaks - if you notice any leaks, please call your local council, so we can prioritise these for repair as soon as possible.

For more water saving tips: visit

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