Community & Environment

Hamilton needs to get water smart

Hamilton’s heating up, so our water use needs to go down.

Due to the increase in water use earlier this summer as well as increasingly warm and dry weather, Hamilton moved to Water Alert Level Two on Tuesday 14 January, which means sprinkler systems can be used on alternate days between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm.

Despite the current restrictions, Hamilton’s water usage is still very high and with this Sunday forecasted to be 29 degrees, our concern is that usage will continue to increase.

Sprinkler monitors are out now and anyone noticing water being wasted is encouraged to report it.

“Being smart with the way we use our water is an absolute necessity,” says Hamilton City Council City Waters Manager Maire Porter.

“Hamilton has avoided Water Alert Level Three for the last few years, but if we continue using water at the same level, we will not be able to avoid it this year,” says Ms Porter.

Almost half of Hamilton’s water use in January has been outdoors and there has been a 30% increase of outdoor water use this January, compared to the same time last year.

A large proportion of Hamilton’s outdoor water use is from the use of sprinklers, with people sometimes using more and using them longer than needed.

Pop-up pools can also be a water waster, with the water inside often being discarded instead of treated and reused.

Hamilton has recently been using 25 million litres more water than the amount used in a winter day. This is equivalent to every single Hamilton resident using an additional bath full of water every day.

If this high level of water use continues further restrictions will be implemented.

“It’s little changes that make the biggest difference. If we are all more mindful of our water usage then we can ensure that there is a fair share of water to go around,” says Ms Porter.

Hamilton City has resource consent to take water from the river, however this is not an unlimited supply. Hamilton is among many other river users and there is only so much water that we’re allowed to use.

“Our water systems are in place to provide water at a day-to-day level. It would be uneconomical to fund an upgrade to the water system or build additional infrastructure just to meet high water use that occurs for such a short period each year,” says Ms Porter.

Ms Porter advises everyone to check out Smart Waters water smart tips and see how they can incorporate them into their everyday lives.

More information about the water restrictions can be found here. You can also sign up to receive updates about water alerts at

The Smart Water Starts With You! sub-regional summer campaign aims to make long-term change to how we use water and is a joint venture between Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipā District Council.

About the water alert level system:

The Water Alert Levels and their corresponding requirements are a way to use water in a sustainable manner and ensure consistent supply throughout summer. The water alert level system consists of four alert levels and matching requirements.

Water Alert Level 1
Use sprinkler systems between 6am – 8am and 6pm – 8pm
Hand-held hosing can be used anytime

Water Alert Level 2
Use sprinkler systems on alternate days between
6am – 8am and 6pm – 8pm
Hand-held hosing can be used anytime

Water Alert Level 3
No use of sprinklers.
Hand-held hosing only

Water Alert Level 4
No use of outside water systems

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