High water usage has seen water restrictions introduced in Hamilton and the Waikato today.
Hamilton city and Waikato district have been placed on water alert level 1, meaning use of domestic sprinkler and irrigation systems is permitted between 6am‐8am and 6pm‐8pm only.
Hamilton City city waters manager Tim Harty said it is concerning that consumption levels are so high this early, particularly with weather forecasts of a hot, dry summer ahead.
"The fact we are experiencing such a high demand for water so early on, before summer has officially arrived, is extremely worrying. Unless we all take immediate steps to conserve water wherever possible tighter restrictions may be required in the coming weeks to ease pressure on our water supply and ensure a consistent supply throughout summer."
Waikato District Council water and facilities general manager Richard Bax urged all residents to abide by the alert level 1 restrictions now in place and also take proactive steps to conserve water in other ways where possible.
Waipa District Council also uses the same water alert level system as Hamilton and the Waikato district. Alert level 1 was introduced in the Waipa district on 19 November.
The decision to move between alert levels is made based on a number of factors including consumption, weather forecasts, drought conditions, river levels and annual trend data.
About the water alert level system:
- Alert level 1 - domestic sprinkler systems permitted between 6am‐8am and 6pm‐ 8pm only
- Alert level 2 - domestic sprinklers would only be permitted between 6am‐8am and 6pm‐8pm on alternating days.
- Alert level 3 - total ban on domestic sprinklers and restrictions on outdoor water use for commercial/non residential properties
- Alert level 4 - a total ban on all external non‐essential use of water
The highest water alert level reached in Hamilton and the Waikato since the alert level system was introduced has been alert level 2, which was triggered three times in the past four years.
Last summer alert level 1 proved sufficient to manage the city and district's water demand without needing to move to alert level 2.