Cut down on outdoor water use to stay on Water Alert 2

Published: 23/01/2015

Two of the region’s councils, Hamilton City and Waikato District Council, are asking residents to further conserve their water use, to reduce the need for additional water restrictions.

Both councils are on Water Alert 2, which means sprinklers and watering systems can only be used on alternate days between 6-8am and 6-8pm, while Waipa District Council has moved to Water Alert 3, which includes a total ban on the use of sprinklers.  Despite the introduction of alert levels over the last few weeks, the councils are still seeing increasing levels of water use.

Hamilton City Council Waters Compliance Manager, Trent Fowles, said Hamilton’s levels were close to triggering further restrictions.

“We are currently using significant amounts of water per day in Hamilton, a much higher level than in cooler months.  If this level of use increases, or continues for too long, we will need to consider moving to Water Alert 3, which is hand-held hosing only.   We need people to stick to our current sprinkler restrictions but to also do their best to be smart with their water use, especially outside.”

Hamilton’s recent water usage figures show that about 35% of water being produced at the water treatment plant is not returned into the wastewater system, so is largely being used in gardens and for outdoor purposes.  This is a 250% increase compared to winter months, where the majority of water is used for cooking, showering, in toilets, indoor cleaning and industrial purposes.

Little changes to outdoor water use can make a big difference overall, Mr Fowles continues.

“If your sprinkler is on a timer, reduce the length of time. If you don’t have a timer, set an alarm to remind you to turn off the sprinkler after a certain amount of time rather than guessing how long it has been on for.

“If you’re emptying out a paddling pool , don’t just tip it over on your grass, use it to water your garden with a watering can – or even better, get your kids to do it.  These small changes can save significant amounts of water.”

Waikato District Council Waters Manager, Martin Mould said unless significant changes are made it is likely Waikato District will also have to move to Water Alert Level 3.

“Demand for water is very high, particularly in Tuakau, Pokeno and Ngaruawahia. Despite Water Alert Level 2 being in place, water consumption is starting to move above a sustainable amount.

“We are dealing with hot and very dry conditions and with no immediate likelihood of substantial rain, small changes to the communities water use will help ensure that we don’t need to put further restrictions in place.”

The water teams from around the sub-region will continue to meet frequently to assess water levels and weather forecasts and determine if any change to the alert level restrictions are needed. 
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 Waikato District Council, Hamilton City Council, and Waipa District Council.
For more information on the campaign and for tips on saving water visit


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. The restrictions for Water Alert Level 1 and 2 do not apply to commercial/non-residential properties.  

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

For more information contact:

Kate Doran
Communications Advisor | Hamilton City Council
Ph: 07 838 6666 | Email:
Mob: 021791264

Nicole Nooyen
Communications Advisor | Waikato District Council
Ph: 07 824 8633 extn 5649 | Email: