“We have experienced a very long dry spell since mid-October,” says Dora Luo, Palmerston North City Council Water Asset Engineer. “This has been a one in 65 year event with more than 120 days with no appreciable rainfall. By early January the Upper Turitea Dam level had dropped to 3.6 metres below the crest.
“This was the first time the dam level has been this low so early in the summer. There has been some rainfall since, but this wasn’t sufficient to restore dam storage levels.
"We thank all the city residents for their water conservation efforts. We are now in a position to safely reduce the restriction level. Without everyone’s help, there would be less than 15 per cent of usable storage left in the dam by now, even with the rainfall we have had,” says Ms Luo.
Historically the peak day water demand has been over 40,000m3, but this summer the highest daily demand was just over 30,000m3 and then only for a couple of days.
“This has been a huge effort given this summer has been so hot for so long. “The early and long dry spell is a reminder of how important our water resource is.”
Palmerston North has three new deep-water bores either just about to be commissioned or substantially complete which will boost the available supply and provide greater resilience.
“However, there will always be the need to conserve and treat water as a precious resource at all times. Summertime conservation measures will be part of our future.”
Ashhurst, Bunnythorpe and Longburn remain on level one restrictions.
Further notice will be given when all water restrictions are lifted.