Record dry prompts sprinkler ban
The use of sprinklers and unattended hoses has been banned in Palmerston North.
The city council has moved directly to impose level two hosing restrictions, skipping a limited sprinkler season, after the driest March on record and a dry February.
Water asset engineer Dora Luo said there had been no significant rain for almost eight weeks.
Some rainfall was expected next week but it was unlikely to be enough to boost storage at the city's main water source, at the Turitea Dam.
The dam was 3.7 metres below the spillway yesterday.
Luo said water conservation efforts and increased use of bore supplies had helped delay the introduction of restrictions this autumn, but were still no match for the dry conditions.
Current daily demand is for 30,000 cubic metres of water, which is 20 per cent higher than at the same time last year, when hosing restrictions were in place.
The restrictions mean unattended hoses, sprinklers or irrigation systems cannot be used at any time.
Handheld hoses can be used between 5pm and 7pm on alternate days - houses with odd street numbers on odd dates, and those with even numbers on even dates.
"We will closely monitor the water demand, city storage and the weather forecast to decide whether further restrictions are required."
The next step would be a total ban on outdoor water use, except for those who had their own water supply.
Luo said the city council would limit the use of water at its own facilities, grounds and gardens.
Ashhurst, Longburn and Bunnythorpe have escaped restrictions for now.
She said the second dry season in a row was ringing alarm bells about the climate.
"We all need to understand that water is a finite resource and that we all need to conserve water."
- Manawatu Standard
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