Under level two restrictions sprinklers, irrigation systems and unattended hoses are banned. Handheld hoses may be used between 7pm and 9pm on alternate days: houses with even street numbers on even dates, and vice versa.
Palmerston North relies on two dams in the Turitea catchment to collect and store water to meet nearly 60 per cent of the city’s water supply requirements. The Turitea catchment has not received any significant rainfall since mid-October.
As a result Turitea Dam storage levels have dropped to 80 per cent, and it holds 60 days of city supply if it is full. The hot weather is a welcome bonus but the higher water demand is quickly emptying the dam.
“It’s incredibly rare for the dam level to be this low so early into summer,” says Dora Luo, Palmerston North City Council Water Asset Engineer.
She is encouraging residents and commercial users alike to do what they can to conserve water, indoors and out. “It’s possible to make the stored water in the dam last four more weeks – until mid-March – if everyone makes every drop of water count. Otherwise Council will have no option but to impose a total outdoor water use ban in near future.
“We simply can’t meet the city’s water requirements if the dam is dry. We need everyone’s help to get through this hot dry period.”
Level three restrictions were last implemented in 2003, banning all outdoor water use.
Level one restrictions remain in place for Ashhurst, Bunnythorpe and Longburn, as these villages are on separate water supplies.
Water restrictions are regulated by the Palmerston North Water Supply Bylaw, and Council will begin patrolling and enforcing the ban immediately.