With water consumption increasing across the city, Hamilton will move into level two of the Smart Water alerts on Wednesday 15 December.
A change in water restriction levels is not a decision that’s made lightly, explains Hamilton City Council City Waters Manager Emily Botje.
“Before making the call, we consider a number of factors and look ahead with the goal of saving as much water as we can. We also don’t want to seesaw in and out of restrictions,” says Botje.
“It’s really important that we get this right coming into the hottest and driest part of the year.
“The less we use now, the better we’ll be over the coming months.”
Despite recent rain, over the last four weeks we have experienced several hot and humid spells. Metservice has reported that Hamilton experienced its warmest November on record last month. During these hot spells the amount of water used outdoors increased dramatically. Metservice extended forecasts have continuing hot and humid weather leading up to Christmas.
On some recent days Hamilton Kirikiriroa saw consumption levels hit more than 75 million litres – the equivalent of 30 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water.
Water restrictions help us manage outdoor water use demand during these hot and humid spells that we have been experiencing – and will continue to experience – over the summer months.
Botje encourages Hamiltonians to stop and think about that amount of water, and what it could mean for everyone if we experience droughts over summer because we aren’t being mindful of our water use.
“When we’re in these warmer months we don’t know how much rain we’ll get, and so restrictions are a smart and proactive way of conserving water and minimising wastage,” said Botje.
Restrictions are focused on outdoor water use. Moving to level two means sprinklers can only be used between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning or evening on alternate days. Houses with even street numbers should only use sprinklers on even days, and odd-numbered houses on odd days. Hand-held hosing is still allowed at any time.
Waipā District Council Water Services Manager, Martin Mould, says there has been a significant investment over the last five years to ensure capacity of water treatment and supply in the Waipā district. The team at Waipā District council is encouraging people to focus on the small changes they can make to conserve water. Instead of water restrictions, people should try to see it as an opportunity to learn.
“Valuing wai (water) means appreciating it and learning how to use it wisely. Councils aren’t asking people to stop using it all together, just to be mindful and adopt Smart Water tips,” says Mould.
“We are not moving up a level at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of how much we’re using; we already know this summer is going to be another very hot one.”
The Smart Water starts with you! sub-regional summer campaign aims to make long-term change to how we use water. The initiative is a joint venture between Hamilton City Council, Waitomo District Council and Waipā District Council.
For more information and great water saving tips, visit www.smartwater.org.nz.
Residents can also sign up to an e-newsletter which notifies when each area moves to a new alert level at smartwater.org.nz/subscribe.