Water use soars with heat

A hot, dry weekend in Palmerston North has caused water demand to zoom up by 25 per cent above what residents used in the previous two weekends as they got the garden hoses out.

City council water assets engineer Dora Luo is keeping an anxious eye on demand as storage levels at the Upper Turitea dam, sitting at 34 centimetres below capacity, begin to drop.

Three weekends ago, when there was a sprinkle of rain, the number of cubic metres of water used was 28,605 on Saturday and 25,625 on Sunday.

The following weekend, when 6.1 millimetres of rain fell, the demand was lower at 23,479 and 24,183.

But during the hot, breezy weekend just gone, consumption surged to 31,342 and 32,926cum.

"The majority of the difference is made up by garden use," Ms Luo said.

"We can see a very high evening peak, which means most people are using water in line with the rules, but we are still a bit concerned."

The city remains on level one water restrictions.

The odds-and-evens rules mean people can water the gardens only on alternate days, with sprinkler use allowed only between 7pm and 9pm, and hand-held hosing permitted at other times on the allocated days.

Ms Luo said the dam level would continue to be closely monitored.

Levels typically dropped slowly at first, but accelerated if demand remained high and in the absence of rain.

Water quality also deteriorated if there was less water to draw from, she said.

Manawatu Standard