City to put squeeze on water use as dry spell continues

Last updated 12:59 01/02/2013
water ban
Chris Hillock/Fairfax NZ
SAVE THE FLOWERS: Huntington resident Limheng Vat fights to keep her garden alive as water restrictions are set to tighten.

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More severe water restrictions for Hamilton could be in force by Tuesday, officials are warning.

A meeting on Monday will consider whether to move to unprecedented restrictions as the city's water consumption continues to boom.

Council staff are already giving big commercial users - who pay for their water - a heads up that they may be about to be hit by tougher restrictions.

Radio and online advertising is being ramped up to saturate Hamilton residents with water conservation messages and avert the threat of harsher restrictions.

Residents' patience with restrictions flouters is also evaporating, with complaints to the city council about neighbours now topping 60.

Enforcement staff are relying on education rather than a big stick.

Failure to comply with water restrictions or prohibitions is an offence under the city's water supply bylaw, with $500 fines on conviction.

However staff explaining council's response said they had never resorted to prosecution as residents had always complied before that was necessary.

Sweltering temperatures and dry winds and pushed Waipa District Council to Level 3 this week, a total ban on all domestic sprinkler use - only use of a hand held hose is permitted.

Waipa council staff said the district continued to have high water usage and to ensure continued supply of water a total ban on sprinklers was required as dry conditions worsen.

Waipa also has a restriction on outdoor water use for commercial and non-residential properties.


Huntington residents Wayne and Paula Thorne said cutting the water restrictions back further would kill off their lawn which they have already re-sown ''several'' times due to previous years water restrictions.

''You do your best to keep your lawn looking nice and it costs a lot of money you know, both to have the lawn and maintain it,'' Mr Thorne said.

Mr Thorne said that he took pride in keeping his lawn looking lush and that him and his wife were proud of the compliments they received about their lawn.

''I enjoy the comments we get back because they're all good,'' he said.

Brian Hamill of Huntington said he had installed a $5000 irrigation system to maintain his lawn, which was programmed to turn on and off within the allowed time slots.

He said he believed water restrictions were necessary and that a lot of his neighbours had installed systems like his to ensure their lawns looked their best
.
''I believe in playing the game and most people appear to be as far as I can see,'' he said.

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