Community & Environment

Water alerts ease as autumn cools the Waikato

Image of children playing in sprinklers

Water alerts were lifted on Tuesday 12 April across Hamilton, signalling the end of the Smart Water campaign for the Waikato.

Cooler temperatures, forecasts for heavier rain, and a concerted effort by residents to manage their water usage has meant that water alerts are no longer needed in Hamilton.

Hamilton City Council’s City Waters Manager, Emily Botje, commended Hamiltonians’ efforts over the last few months.

“This summer has been very challenging with long periods of hot and dry weather combined with the impact of covid on staffing levels,” Botje said.

“With summer and daylight saving officially over, Council is confident the demand on water will remain at acceptable levels without the need for water alerts to stay in place. We would like to thank all residents for their hard work over the last few months to be mindful of their water usage.

“Hamilton City has invested well in providing water infrastructure for the city, and our long-term plan has funding provision for the required upgrades to meet our growing population. Water restrictions are put in place to ensure the city uses water sustainably – as demand doubles during summer as residents water their lawns and gardens.

“By implementing restrictions, we as a community work together to protect the wellbeing of the Waikato River.”

However, the impact of the pandemic on staffing levels at local councils around the country continues to affect operations teams.

“The impact of Omicron on staffing levels at our water treatment plants is still a concern, so we ask residents to continue to be mindful of their water consumption to help us manage demand,” said Botje.

Waipā District Council’s Water Services Manager, Martin Mould reflected on the summer for the district.

“While other councils around the Waikato region were implementing water alerts during summer, for the first time in many years, Waipā residents enjoyed having no water restrictions. Waipā District Council has continued to invest heavily in water infrastructure over the last decade and the Parallel Road Water Treatment Plant is our latest success story,” said Mould.

“Despite low rainfall, our district was not even close to triggering an alert, which is evidence our strategy to prioritise water has come to fruition combined with our community’s efforts to use water wisely.

“We still believe educating about water conservation education is important. We launched a successful summer campaign with water saving tips, videos and quizzes where the public could test their knowledge and win prizes.”

The Smart Water campaign slogan is We value wai in the Waikato. Both Council spokespeople agree that as water is a precious resource that should not be taken for granted, people need to be aware of their water use and make saving water an everyday habit.

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, Waipa District Council and Waitomo District Council.

 For simple water saving tips, visit www.smartwater.org.nz/tips 

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