Water restriction status signs have been erected at key locations in Whakatāne, Ōhope and Matatā to

highlight the need to conserve water until the current period of dry weather ends.

Whakatāne District Council Infrastructure General Manager Tomasz Krawczyk says that in recent years, voluntary water use reductions have helped ensure that reservoir storage for the Whakatāne and Ōhope water supply schemes is maintained at a safe level, allowing formal restrictions on hose and sprinkler use to be avoided.

“The current dry conditions are steadily reducing the Whakatāne River flow and if there is no significant rainfall in the next week, we’ll reach a point where salt water intrusion will begin to restrict our intake from the Whakatāne River around high tides,” he explains. “While we can address that to a degree, any voluntary conservation measures the community implements will help us to keep pace with demand and maintain reservoir storage at a level which can cope with emergency situations, such as firefighting requirements or major pipe failures.”

Mr Krawczyk says demand in the Matatā water supply is also high, meaning the scheme’s water take and pumping capacity are struggling to keep up. “We’re also asking Matatā consumers to voluntarily reduce water use until further notice, so that we can avoid the need for restrictions on hose and sprinkler use.”

He says the Council has put in place a three-stage restriction process, beginning with a call for voluntary reductions in water use. If needed, stage two would see the current blue ‘conserve water now’ signs replaced by orange signs, indicating that hoses and sprinklers can only be used on alternate days, between 6:00 am – 8:00 am and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The third stage, marked by a red water restriction status sign, would see a total ban introduced on all hose and sprinkler use.

“We hope that restrictions can be avoided, but that’s largely dependent on the ability of households and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use,” Mr Krawczyk says.

Some simple conservation tips include:

·         Bucket-wash cars or boats, if possible

·         Don’t refill or top-up swimming pools

·         If you know you have leaking taps, fix them now

·         If you see a leaking water line, report it to the Council as soon as possible

·         Flush toilets sparingly

·         Avoid using your bath and cut your shower time down as much as possible

·         While waiting for hot water to flow through to showers or taps, catch the unused water in a bucket for use in washing machines or for other purposes.

Further information will be provided to update consumption and water storage trends.