Focus on the Land
River water flowing in lean city supply
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
GISBORNE city’s developing water shortage situation deepened today as the District Council moved to a higher water alert and banned the use of domestic sprinklers.
Water levels in the Mangapoike dams are lower than they have been at this time of year for 15 years and now half the water flowing out of our taps comes from the emergency back-up source . . . the Waipaoa River.
Niwa’s long-term weather forecast predicts dry conditions in the district over the next three months.
Council water team leader Marcus Koll said the council viewed the situation very seriously.
“City water consumption has been high since December, particularly when it comes to garden watering,” Mr Koll said.
Continued high water demand in dry conditions has pushed the council to move to “water alert level 3” from today.
“Alert level 3 means there is now a total ban on all domestic sprinkler use.”
There is also a restriction on non-essential outdoor water use and sprinklers for commercial and non-residential properties.
“There are no other water restrictions on industrial users at this stage, however we have contacted the top 20 industrial water users individually.
“They have been asked to advise staff to use water sensibly wherever they can.”
The ban on sprinklers was needed to ensure the continued supply of drinking water to the city, he said.
“Demand for water is still high and unfortunately alert levels 1 and 2 have only had a small impact in reducing demand.”
Fifty percent of the city’s water is coming out of the Waipaoa River via the treatment plant.
“It’s hoped the community will respond to the ban because the next step in the alert process — Level 4 — involves total restrictions on any non-essential outdoor water use,” Mr Koll said.
“It is important that proactive steps are taken now, particularly as the district moves into a busy harvesting season.”
The council has received 10 complaints of improper water use.
“Water utilities inspectors followed up all of the complaints, to ensure people are aware of the current restrictions.”
Those with concerns about improper water use can report it 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 867 2049, by emailing email@example.com or completing the e-fix form on the council’s website, Mr Koll said.
“The council thanks those who have adhered to previous sprinkler restrictions and made efforts to conserve water.”
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