News & Events

Water restrictions for Palmerston North

Monday March 9 2020

Water restrictions are now in place for Palmerston North.

Photo shows man watering vegetable garden with a hand-held hose.

You can still use a handheld hose any time, however we encourage you to conserve water at every opportunity. Every drop matters!

The water level at the Turitea Dam, which supplies two-thirds of the city’s water, has been fluctuating over the two months, but has now dropped below 80 per cent full, which triggers level 1 restrictions.

Unattended hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems can only be used on alternate days between 7pm and 9pm. Even numbered houses can do this on even days, and odd numbered houses on odd days.

Handheld hoses can be used at any time.

PNCC Water Operations Manager, Mike Monaghan, says it’s great that the city has been able to wait till march before introducing level 1 restrictions.

Our residents should be enormously proud of their conservation efforts this summer. Unfortunately, due to the lack of heavy rain, it hasn’t been enough to prevent restrictions.

Mike Monaghan

The dry weather is set to continue for at least the next month, and without an unexpected bout of rain or considerable conservation efforts, level 2 restrictions could come into effect soon.

“The nine bores have been running at full capacity for the past few weeks and while 80 per cent full doesn’t sound too bad for the dam, the water level typically drops faster as the dam narrows. Also, the water closer to the bottom contains more silt and requires significantly more treatment.”

The next stage of restrictions (level 2) only allows for handheld hoses to be used on alternate days.

The level 1 restrictions now in place do not impact commercial water use.

We will still supply water to Tararua District if required

Tararua District is experiencing a critical water shortage in Dannevirke, and has requested our help to supply water if they need it.

We’ve agreed to supply 1000m3, or 1 million litres, of water a day if called on.

While that sounds like a lot of water, Palmerston North has been using between 32 and 35 million litres of water each day.

Mr Monaghan says despite now being in level 1 restrictions, we can still provide water to our neighbours.

"I am sure all Palmerstonians would agree that in a time of crisis it is important to assist if we can. We pride ourselves on being a connected community not just within our council boundaries, but within our region too."

He says the decision to go into restrictions is based on how much water Palmerston North is using, not in order to help Tararua. However, any water our city can save can either help prevent further restrictions, or help our neighbours.

Tips to save water at your home

  • Visit one of our public pool complexes or the Victoria Esplanade or Memorial Park paddling pools instead of setting up your own.
  • Save 6l of water by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth.
  • Only put your washing on when you have a full load.
  • Scratch the surface of the soil in your garden with your finger. If it feels moist 10cm down, then watering can wait.
  • Put mulch on your garden. It helps plants retain moisture and reduces weeds. Get yours at the Awapuni Resource Recovery Park.
  • Fix a leaking tap – this can save 15l a day.
  • Consider switching to a low flow shower head. This could save up to 6l a minute and cut the cost of your hot water bill.
  • If you only have a few dishes, wash them by hand rather than using a dishwasher.
  • Wash your car with a bucket instead of a hose.