A residential sprinkler and irrigation system ban, or level 2 water restrictions, can be introduced around the region as a result of increasing water consumption and a long spell of dry weather.

This means you cannot use a sprinkler or unattended watering system at any time.

Handheld devices can still be used anytime, on any day, so long as you don't leave them unattended.

Below are answers to some common questions which will help you identify what you can and cannot do during a residential sprinkler and irrigation system ban.

Can I still water my garden during a sprinkler ban?

Yes - you can use handheld watering devices to water your garden during a sprinkler ban. e.g. a handheld hose.

We recommend that you only water between the hours of 6-8am and 7-9pm so the soil better retains the moisture.

You can water your garden with water collected from your roof, or with grey water collected from your bath, shower, washing machine or kitchen sink.

Can I still wash my car?

Yes you can, by hand — we recommend using a bucket and a trigger nozzle on a hose.

My neighbour is using their sprinkler – should they be?

No, unless they have their own water supply.

You can report any sprinkler or irrigation use to your local council.

The golf club/bowling club/sports club/council is still watering their lawn, is that right?

The residential sprinkler ban applies to residential properties only. It does not apply to sports clubs that are used by the public, or someone’s commercial business (which is their livelihood) and in this situation they are exempt.

Some golf courses and sport grounds have their own bores that they get their water from, which means they are not using mains water.

Councils are still permitted to water their facilities, however we do ask that they minimise the watering of lawns and gardens in light of the drought conditions that are hitting the region. This is a difficult challenge – as they want to play their part in conserving water as much as possible, but at the same time they don’t want our parks and gardens to die, as it would mean that the grass would need to be resown next autumn. This would put winter sports at risk and cost ratepayers large amounts of money to repair community assets.

If you have any concerns about unattended watering of council facilities, please contact your local council.

My business relies on outdoor water use (house cleaners, nurseries etc.), what can I do?

You can continue to operate as normal, however we ask that you are pragmatic and responsible when watering.

Why are there restrictions when we’ve had so much rain?

There are a number of reasons for the sprinkler ban. 

1) We have not had any decent rain for several weeks. This means river levels have dropped.

2) There are a limited number of reservoirs in the Wellington region (and we have two storage lakes at Te Maura), once these are full it doesn't matter how much it rains during winter they cannot collect any more water. We have stored water in lakes, but this needs to last the whole summer.

3) There may be necessary work being done to some of our treatment plants to make sure we are able to supply safe and healthy water.

If a sprinkler ban is introduced in early summer, it is to help conserve water in preparation for the peak of Summer (Feb/March).

Can the kids still play in the sprinkler?

No. Sprinkler use is banned. But you can spray them with the hose, and play with water balloons.

Can I still fill my pool?

Yes, but you must be holding the hose as it fills the pool – any unattended watering is not permitted.

We do however ask you to consider using the fantastic outdoor facilities that some of the public pools have as an alternative.

Councils may have summer deals or extended opening hours for their pools during summer months. Check your local council's website for pool opening hours and deals.

Can I still waterblast my house?

Yes – attended hand-held hosing (including water blasting) is still ok.

We do ask that you consider holding off on water blasting until a later date if possible, or only use it carefully and when necessary (i.e. not for sweeping the driveway).

If we need to increase restrictions as summer rolls on, then all domestic outdoor water use would be banned – so that would mean no DIY water blasting.

What are some other ways that I can water my garden?

You can water your garden with grey water collected from your bath, shower, washing machine or kitchen sink.

If you do use grey water check to make sure your detergents are biodegradable - Ministry of Environment advice on choosing products for use in grey water systems is to use ‘appropriate soaps and detergents – avoid washing powders that whiten or have enzymes, and avoid detergents or cleaners containing boron.’ 

We've had several days of rain recently, why is there still a sprinkler ban?

There are a number of reasons a sprinkler ban does not get removed after a few days of rainfall.

If we are only at the beginning of summer we need to make sure our water will last all summer long, in particular during the peak of summer (Feb/March). Rainfall can replenish short-term supply but we need to ensure there will be enough stored water to meet long-term demand, in case of more drought conditions.

When there is a heavy rainfall the water becomes turbid and cannot be diverted into the intake. We have to wait for the debris and sediment in the water to settle before we can divert it. This means a big downpour does not immediately replenish our supply, and by the time the sediments settle the water may have receded. 

What happens if the current level of restriction isn't enough?

If the current restriction level doesn't decrease demand to match available supply, then we may have to move to the next level of water restrictions which is a total outdoor water ban. 


If you have a question that is not answered above, please give us a call on 04 912 4400 or email info@wellingtonwater.co.nz 

Let's look after our water now, so we can enjoy it all summer long.