In response to one of the most severe droughts in Auckland’s history, Auckland Council’s Emergency Committee today voted unanimously to introduce mandatory water restrictions, which will come into effect across the region from Saturday 16 May.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “We really need Aucklanders to come together and reduce the amount of water we are using. As a city, we have done a good job to date, but given we have only had 36 per cent of our usual rainfall we need to do more.
“The last month has shown that if we put our mind to it, we can make the changes we need to help our city and that is what I am asking for of Aucklanders now with these water restrictions.
“The first stage of restrictions will ban the use of outdoor hoses and water-blasters. It will also prohibit the watering of sports fields, plants or paddocks unless an irrigation system is fitted with soil moisture or rain sensors, and require car washes to operate only if they use recyclable water.
“I want Aucklanders to remember that if we don’t get it right and save water now, we will have to implement harder restrictions on the future and no one wants that.
“I hope Aucklanders will understand the need to adhere to these measures, but if we have to, we have a range of enforcement options available for those who choose to ignore the restrictions,” Phil Goff said.
The proposed water use restrictions cover outdoor water use because it can be observed and if necessary, enforced. None of the three stages impose restrictions on water for drinking or sanitary use of water in the household, or operations that use water for health, safety, emergency and biosecurity measures.
‘Stage 1’ restrictions, to be implemented from 16 May, will prohibit the residential use of outdoor hoses and water-blasters.
Restrictions for commercial and non-residential water usage at Stage 1 include banning the use of outdoor hoses or water blasters unless it is for a health, safety, emergency or biosecurity reason; banning commercial car washes unless they use recycled water; and restricting the watering of sports fields, plants or paddocks to those which have an irrigation system fitted with soil moisture or rain sensors.
‘Stage 2’ restrictions will be introduced if Auckland’s water storage levels continue to decline to a level agreed in Watercare’s Metropolitan Drought Management Plan.
Restrictions at Stage 2 include all of those introduced at Stage 1, while also banning all watering of sports fields.
Waitākere Councillor Linda Cooper, who is the liaison councillor for Watercare, says the council will aim to educate those who breach water restrictions in the first instance, and will only escalate to prosecution in the case of significant or repeated breaches.
“I’m confident that Aucklanders will understand how important it is to adhere to these restrictions,” she said.
“This drought is something that affects everyone, and we all have a role to play in helping to save water.”
Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram says, “We would like to acknowledge the efforts Aucklanders have made so far to reduce water consumption, through shorter showers and other measures.
“Once mandatory water restrictions for outdoor use are introduced, we hope to see the community respond to achieve even greater savings.”
Watercare has been running a public campaign since early February, “Water is precious”, urging Aucklanders to make voluntary water savings. This has resulted in a reduction in demand, even though Aucklanders have been spending more time at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Further information about the drought is available at watercare.co.nz
A compilation of the latest drone footage of dams in the Waitakere ranges (filmed on Tuesday) is available here.