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Published 29/11/2017

Sprinklers banned in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua

A ban on the use of residential sprinklers and irrigation systems will take effect in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua from midnight tonight (Wednesday, 29 November 2017).

The ban is a result of increasing water consumption caused by a long spell of dry weather. NIWA has called this November one the driest in the last 90 years, and demand has reached levels normally only seen in February or March.

“We can sustainably supply the region at a level of around 160 million litres a day,” said Jeremy McKibbin, Wellington Water’s treatment plant manager. “Over the past week to 10 days, we’ve been consistently above the 170 mark.

“For this early in the summer, that’s just too high. We need people to get into the habit now of being careful about their water use, so there’s enough for all of us to enjoy all summer.”

At the same time as Wellington is seeing unprecedented water demand caused by the warmer weather, Wellington Water’s main treatment plants are undergoing urgent upgrades to ensure safe and healthy water supplies.

New UV treatment is being installed to treat aquifer water, and new filters are being put in place to treat river and lake water.

“We have two storage lakes to supplement our river and aquifer supplies,” said Mr McKibbin. These are full at the moment, but we’re already drawing on them. It’s like dipping into our savings, and they have to last us the whole summer.

“That’s why we’re bringing in increased restrictions so early. There is enough water for everyone this summer, if we all look after it now.”

What the ban means:
• All unattended residential watering systems are banned.
• Careful watering by hand is still permitted.
• Councils, golf courses and bowling greens are asked to manage their watering programmes carefully.

Tips to save water:
• Use mulch to keep soil moist.
• Only water your garden when absolutely necessary – check soil moisture levels 10cm below the surface.
• Collect water from your shower for watering your garden.
• Let your lawn die off, it will come back.

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