A decision to move to alert level four – no outdoor water use of any kind – is on the cards for Te Awamutu, Pirongia and Ohaupo residents if we do not conserve water and get much needed rainfall in the next week.
Waipā District Council chief executive, Garry Dyet, said the Council’s water services team is reducing water pressure in the town and preventing tankers from filling from the Te Awamutu supply. Water tanker suppliers are required to fill up at the Cambridge bulk supply on Matos Segedin Drive as of Wednesday 5 February.
“We need 3-4 days of significant, steady rainfall along with everyone’s best conservation efforts. We can do this.”
The last significant rainfall was over six weeks ago in December, and the Mangauika Stream which supplies the town is running extremely low.
Te Awamutu’s additional town water supply is currently being constructed on Cambridge Road to source water from the Waikato River. Once this is operational in mid-2021, residents will still need to consider water use during periods of low rainfall.
“Water is a finite, precious resource and it takes quite a journey from river to tap. It takes 12 hours to convert it to drinking water so we need to be mindful how we use it, particularly in summer. Every drop counts.”
Large commercial operators in the town have joined the Council and all resident’s efforts, putting water conservation measures in place where possible.
Water saving measures are also required for rural properties who have tanks with a trickle-feed from town supply.
Council has provided a list of tips via the smartwater.org.nz website to save water at home.
· Shorten your shower. Every minute of shower water equals about 12 litres of water.
· Shower with a bucket – don’t waste the water while it heats up. Reuse it on your garden or for hand-washing in the bathroom sink.
· Only wash on full loads for dishwashing and laundry. Most modern dishwashers use less water than handwashing. Read the manual to find out what cycle is the most water efficient.
· Rinse vegetables in a small bowl rather than a running tap.
· Don’t tip any leftover water down the sink – save it for your garden.
· Capture drinking water in a jug and leave it in the fridge to cool down rather than waiting for it to run cold before filling up a glass.
· Let grass go brown. It’ll pick back up when the rain comes.
· Mulch rather than water your plants where possible.
· If you have a pool, you can reduce evaporation by up to 97 per cent with a pool cover.
Water services manager, Martin Mould, admitted that questions have been raised about the quick move from Water Alert 1 to Water Alert 3.
“Water-saving adverts have run in our local papers since the beginning of December, however a water alert can only be instigated when we reach certain trigger levels.
“In this instance, the low stream coupled with high demand over the long weekend triggered the jump from water alert 1 to water alert 3, bypassing trigger levels for 2 completely.”
For tips on how to conserve water, head to www.smartwater.org.nz.
Water alerts also in place in other Waikato areas
Sub-regional partner, Hamilton City Council, is at water alert level 2 along with parts of Waikato district. Tauwhare, Matangi and Gordonton residents already comply with the restrictions, but because of continued high usage in Hamilton, restrictions need to be extended to cover all areas that get their water from Hamilton. This includes Tamahere, Newstead/Eureka, Wallace Rd & Stonebridge Estate. The rest of Waikato district is not at a water alert.
Waipā District Council has developed a tool for residents to see what water alert level applies to their property. Visit www.waipadc.govt.nz/our-services/water-services/smart-water and enter your property address to find out.
For tips on how to conserve water at home, head to the Smart Water website: www.smartwater.org.nz.
Smart Water Starts with You! is as sub-regional summer campaign aiming 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.
For media enquiries, contact: Karen Cousins, 027 300 5232
Photo caption: Waipā District Council water services manager Martin Mould urges residents to conserve water on alert level 3.
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.