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Auckland’s residential water restrictions to be adjusted for summer

Published: 26 November 2020

Auckland Council’s Governing Body has today voted to adjust mandatory water restrictions.

From 14 December, residents will be able to use hand-held hoses fitted with trigger nozzles; though they are still urged to use water wisely as the city’s water shortage continues.

Between 1 November 2019 and 31 May 2020, Auckland experienced its worst drought on record, receiving only 60 per cent of the normal rainfall. As a result, stage one water restrictions were implemented on 16 May in Auckland for the first time since the 1993/4 drought.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “Aucklanders have been fantastic in their response to the call to conserve water, with residents and businesses saving around 7 billion litres of water since restrictions were put in place.

“However, with storage dams still 19 per cent below average for this time of year, we are not out of the woods yet. While we have eased restrictions and people can use handheld trigger hoses, we are asking Aucklanders to carry on with their good water savings habits.

“On the supply side of the equation, Watercare and the council have invested strongly, spending $224 million to increase water supply. We are already taking 25 million litres a day more from the Waikato River, and by mid next year we will take a further 50 million litres through the expansion of our Tūākau treatment plant,” he says.

“A further 5 million litres a day is coming from the new Pukekohe plant we opened last Friday, with 6 million to 12 million litres extra from the Hays Creek dam starting early January.

“More supply and greater water conservation should see us through the summer, but if serious drought continues and demand increases radically, restrictions will have to be put back in place.”

Watercare liaison councillor Linda Cooper says the adjustment will offer some relief to Aucklanders and hopes that people follow them wisely.

“Taking care of a garden and growing fruit and vegetables is important for many Aucklanders’ wellbeing, as is carrying out those summer around-the-home tasks like water blasting and house washing.

“Using trigger nozzles and continuing to use water carefully and sparingly is vitally important. However, should water use get out of control, we may need to look at reimposing stronger restrictions, so all of us need to do our part to keep saving water,” she said.

Watercare acting chief executive Marlon Bridge says the adjusted restrictions are more aligned with the restrictions regularly imposed by councils around New Zealand in summer, allowing for controlled outdoor water use. They enable people to water their gardens, top up pools, flush boat motors and wash their homes and cars – but only using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle. Sprinklers and residential irrigation systems are not permitted. Home water blasters with trigger nozzles can also be used.

Bridge warns that if drought conditions get worse or water use exceeds Auckland’s overall consumption target, then more stringent restrictions may need to be reimposed to ban the use of outdoor hoses. 

“The need to save water hasn’t gone away. But with the extra water sources and the more favourable weather forecast, we can support limited outdoor use.

“We’ve developed a visual to help people see how we’re tracking in terms of consumption. It’s on billboards, bus shelters, websites and social media – and reinforced on radio – so it’s easy for people to access.

“I’m confident we’re in a good position heading into summer. Our community has proven it is excellent at saving water – please keep that up.”

Comprehensive information on what residents and businesses can do while meeting the terms of the restrictions can be found on the Watercare website.

Read more: Environment Mayor

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