Water restrictions for Palmy could be just days away from coming into effect without major conservation efforts by our community.
A hot summer, teamed with not much rain, means our Turitea Dam level is dropping fast. The dam supplies two thirds of the city’s water, with the rest coming from bores around the city. While we’ve avoided water restrictions over the past four years, this year it is a matter of when, not if, we need to go into mandatory water restrictions. That's because for the first time in 8 years, the country is experiencing an El Niño weather pattern. For Palmy, an El Niño means we’re having more westerly winds, far less rain than usual, a drop in soil moisture and higher temperatures than previous summers. This means we’re all using similar amounts of water to other years, but the rain isn’t topping up the dam.
Our ‘Summer Water Use initiative’ began four years ago to encourage Palmy residents to voluntarily act as though they’re already in water restrictions, and to only use water outside between 7-9pm, every second day. The day you choose should be based on the number on your letterbox - even houses water on even days, and odd houses on odd days.
Summer Water Use has worked well over previous years, but an El Niño means we’re not expecting any decent heavy rain until Autumn. As a result, we will need to look at implementing water restrictions in our city. While at this stage they appear to be inevitable, we’d like to delay the need for them as much as we can.
The initial stage of water restrictions are the same rules as Summer Water Use - but mandatory. Many towns and cities, including those around us, are already in restrictions but our community’s efforts with our Summer Water Use initiative means we’ve been able to ward them off, for now. Our city is extremely fortunate compared to many others around the country. We have planned well and have a range of water sources available. It’s important we all take a good look at our water use and see what we can do to conserve water this summer.