These FAQs cover off questions we get regarding both base level restrictions (daylight savings odds and evens) as well as sprinkler bans. For sprinkler ban specific information, check out this page: No sprinklers allowed. What can I do?
Can I still water my garden during base level garden watering restrictions (odds & evens)?
Yes, you can use a single watering system (sprinkler, irrigation system, soaker hose, or unattended hose) between 6-8am and 7-9pm, on allocated watering days (odds & evens). We recommend using a hand held trigger nozzle fitted to a garden-hose, or watering can.
Can I still water my garden during a sprinkler ban?
Yes, you can still water your garden during a sprinkler ban, using a hand-held device only. The sprinkler ban includes the ban of irrigation systems, soaker hoses, and unattended watering. You can still use your hose if you are holding it.
Can I still wash my car?
Yes, we recommend washing your car on the lawn so that any run off is absorbed. Using a bucket/sponge and a trigger nozzle on a hose is best.
My neighbour is using their sprinkler – should they be?
They are allowed to use a single watering system (sprinkler, irrigation system, soaker hose, or unattended hose) during base level restrictions between 6-8am and 7-9pm, on allocated watering days (odds & evens), or hand-held watering only when a sprinkler ban is in place.
If you are concerned about their watering, you can report it to your local council.
The golf club/bowling club/sports club/council is still watering their lawn during the day, is that right?
The residential garden watering restrictions apply to residential properties only. It does not apply to sports clubs that are used by the public or commercial businesses 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.
It is a difficult challenge – as our councils 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.
We are aware that councils take steps to conserve water, such as watering at night so the soil better retains the moisture.
If you have any concerns about unattended watering of council facilities, please contact your local council.
Why should we follow restrictions when there are leaks that haven’t been fixed? – This is a huge waste of water!
We are aware that leaks have an impact on water usage in the network. However, following watering restrictions and conserving water where you can still makes the biggest impact in the level of demand.
We are seeing an increase in leaks reported as well as working through a backlog of leaks. We prioritise leaks into three categories. What we call P1 and P2 leaks are bursts and leaks that affect water supply to customers (e.g. leaving people without water). P3 leaks are ones that are not currently directly affecting service.
We’re really pleased that people are reporting leaks and are concerned about how long it takes to fix them. However, we acknowledge it’s frustrating that we’re behind on getting to those P3 leaks.
Here are some things we are doing to address the situation:
- Re-prioritising P3 leaks when they worsen or affect service
- Adding extra resource and extending hours
- Developing a way to mark leaks to show they have been assessed prior to repair – this should reduce the number of double up calls
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 during winter?
There are a number of reasons why garden watering restrictions are in place.
- Demand for water during daylight saving months increases, as people use more water outdoors in their gardens. The warmer, dryer conditions also means that river levels drop and supply from rivers goes down.
- There are a limited number of reservoirs in the metropolitan 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. This stored water needs to last the whole summer.
- There may be necessary repair or upgrade work being done to some of our treatment plants to make sure we are able to supply safe drinking-water. Garden watering restrictions start during daylight saving months to help conserve water in preparation for the peak of Summer, when we would likely need to use water from the storage lakes (Jan/Feb/March).
I received a flyer in the mail about odd/even garden watering restrictions between 6-8am and 7- 9pm — what does this mean?
Every summer during daylight saving months there are garden watering restrictions around the region (and all year round for Upper Hutt). These are base level restrictions that help us manage our summer demand. Additional restrictions can be imposed, such as a sprinkler ban, depending on demand/supply around the region.
Can the kids still play in the sprinkler?
During base level restrictions technically yes, between 6-8am and 7-9pm, on the odd/even day of the month, depending on your house number. During a sprinkler ban you cannot, but you can spray them with the hose, and play with water balloons.
We recommend you visit one of our regions fantastic local pools, beaches or swimming spots instead. Or alternatively, consider playing with water balloons and other water toys, as they do not use as much water.
Can I still fill my pool?
Yes, you can fill it with an unattended watering system or hose between 6-8am and 7-9pm, on the odd/even day of the month, depending on your house number. During a sprinkler ban, you must be holding the hose as it fills the pool – any unattended watering is not permitted.
You could also use some of 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, however we do ask that you consider holding off on water-blasting until a later date if possible (when garden watering restrictions are not in place), 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 could 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 for 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 are garden watering restrictions still in place?
There are a number of reasons garden watering restrictions do not get lifted after a few days of rainfall. Garden watering restrictions are in place for the duration of daylight saving months to help conserve water in preparation for the peak of Summer when we would likely need to use water from the storage lakes (Jan/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 future drought conditions.
Also, 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.
Click here for tips on how to conserve water around your home.