Restrictions on hose and sprinkler use have been put in place in Whakatāne and Ōhope due to limited river flow.
Falling river flows mean salt-water intrusion on high tides is now limiting the volume of water the Whakatāne treatment plant can process for the Whakatāne and Ōhope water supplies, forcing the implementation of these restrictions.
This will see the blue ‘voluntary conservation' signs placed in prominent locations around the communities replaced by orange ‘Stage 2' water restriction signs, which indicate that hoses and sprinklers can only be used on alternate days, between the hours of 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm.
Until further notice, properties with an ‘odd' street number, such as 3 or 23, are restricted to using a hand-held hose for garden watering on odd days of the month (January 3 or 11, for example), while properties with ‘even' street numbers would be restricted to even days of the month (such as January 2 or 12).
Whakatāne District Council Infrastructure General Manager Tomasz Krawczyk says that, if required, the third stage of water restrictions, marked by a red water restriction status sign, would see a total ban introduced on all hose and sprinkler use.
“We hope that situation can be avoided, but that's entirely dependent on the river flow and the ability of households and businesses to reduce their water use,” he says.
“We will be commissioning our upriver, emergency intake within a matter of days, but that is only a partial solution and with no significant rainfall forecast to boost the river flow, we need to start reducing water usage now.”
Apart from reducing the use of hoses and sprinklers, other simple ways to conserve water include:
• Bucket-wash cars or boats, if possible
• Don't refill or top-up swimming pools
• If you know you have leaking taps, fix them now
• If you see a leaking water line, report it to the Council as soon as possible
• Flush toilets sparingly
• Avoid using your bath and cut your shower time down as much as possible
• While waiting for hot water to flow through to showers or taps, catch the unused water in a bucket for use in washing machines or for other purposes.
Regular updates will be provided on water consumption and storage trends.