Sprinkler ban starts today

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
 Bruce Young
Mark Taylor/FAIRFAX NZ

Sacrifice: Bruce Young risks losing his manicured lawn when he switches off his automated irrigation system for a hose.

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Conscientious Hamilton property owners with lush, green lawns are set to have all their hard work undone as a total ban on domestic sprinklers comes into effect today.

The ban applies to Hamilton and the Waikato District as high water consumption forces councils to raise the water alert to level 3 with no end to the hot, dry weather in sight.

Hamilton resident Bruce Young installed a $5000 automatic underground sprinkler system for his lawn to keep it in top condition but will have to switch it off.

"We have got a lot of frontage so we have to do the job properly," Mr Young said.

He said his lawn will die off "within the week" as council water enforcement efforts begin, destroying his carefully manicured lawn and making his irrigation system redundant.

"It is going to die pretty quickly when you can't water at all," Mr Young said.

A good lawn can add thousands of dollars to the value of a home and Mr Young has paid good money for his ready lawn, monthly maintenance and the irrigation system.

"If you have a nice lawn it sets your house off and if you wanted to sell, it is going to sell more quickly than something that looks terrible from the road," he said.

Mr Young's sprinklers are set to spray on the allowable days for 20 minutes at a time. He installed it so he wouldn't have to spend hours holding hoses.

"That's the next stage but I won't be hand watering," he said. "It's just going to have to get sacrificed, I guess."

Mr Young said the weather has been "exceptionally hot and exceptionally dry" but wants the council to focus on developing the right infrastructure to cater to the needs of a growing city.

Matt Lahana moved to Hamilton from Auckland this month and has been watering his ready lawn religiously since it was laid three weeks ago.

The Auckland fireman is taking advice from the installers to water his lawns thoroughly until the roots establish but he is concerned about water consumption and said there is no need to overwater.

"To be honest, four hours of water every couple of days is heaps."

Doctor Lawn spokesman Bernie Haskell said lawns that are already brown can't be brought back to life until autumn.

People wait until the lawn has died before acting and Mr Haskell said by then it is too late.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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