Low water supplies in Te Awamutu and high water use in Cambridge has forced Waipa District to move to Water Alert Level 3 – effective from Thursday 22 January.
The upgrade to Water Alert Level 3 means a complete ban on sprinkler use for Waipa residents. Hand-held hosing can be used at any time.
The Mangauika Stream on Mount Pirongia provides water for Te Awamutu and Pirongia. But the consistently high temperatures and lack of rain means water levels have dropped so low that the stream cannot keep up with the amount of water being taken.
Waipa District Council’s group manager service delivery Barry Bergin said the issue in Te Awamutu is not only demand, but also supply.
“Te Awamutu residents have been doing a great job in responding to the Smart Water messages and water use has remained steady. But the very dry conditions, and no immediate likelihood of substantial rain, means we now need to take the next step or risk our water supplies getting dangerously low.”
In Cambridge it is the high amount of water being used that is the main concern.
“In Cambridge we are seeing the opposite problem to Te Awamutu. Cambridge water is supplied from Hicks Road Springs and the Waikato River and so the amount of water available is determined by the size of the treatment plant and pipes. But despite Water Alert Level 2 already being in place, water use has gone through the roof,” said Mr Bergin.
Water use in Waipa peaked on Monday 19 January when 33 million litres of water was used.
Last summer, Waipa District reached Water Alert Level 3 in April, prompting the council to urge Waipa residents as a whole to be far more aware of water use.
Water Alert Level 3 also means restrictions on outdoor water use for commercial and non-residential properties, including reserves and sport facilities. Large industry, including Fonterra, have been advised of the change in status and are working closely with Council to reduce their water use.
Waipa District’s water supply and infrastructure challenges have been a widely discussed issue with more than $200 million budgeted for infrastructure upgrades in the upcoming draft 10-Year Plan. That plan will be released in March.
The Smart Water Starts with You! sub-regional summer campaign aims to make long-term change to how we use water and is a joint venture between Waikato District Council, Hamilton City Council, and Waipa District Council.
For more information on the campaign and for tips on saving water visit www.smartwater.org.nz
Waipa district water consumption levels - November 2014 to January 2015