Why do we have them?
We get our water from the Pātea River, and during the summer months when we have extended periods of dry weather and low rainfall the Pātea River levels can become low.
When this happens our resource consent requires us to reduce how much we take for town supply. There are two steps to our water conservation efforts.
If flow drops below 780 litres per second, we supplement what we take from the Patea river with water from the Konini Stream and implement water restrictions (odds and evens system) to ensure we can stay on top of demand and leave enough in the rivers to ensure we don’t cause harm to the river’s ecosystem.
If the river levels drop further and flow drops below 540 litres per second for three days in a row then we need to implement a total water ban. Despite the name, this doesn’t mean that we can’t use any water. During a total ban, water use should be limited to essential use. This is human consumption and hygiene as well as animal welfare.
The most notable no-no under this setting is the watering of gardens as this activity swallows up enormous amounts of water. While we all appreciate a green lawn and a healthy veggie beds, when water is short, it is important to use it where it matters most and leave enough for the health of the streams we take it from.
It’s important to note that restrictions aren’t put in place because of the amount of water being used by residents and commercial properties, but because of the level of water available in the river.
What’s the odds and evens system?
When we impose water restrictions on our town supplies, this includes a ban on sprinklers, irrigation systems and unattended hoses.
As part of the odds and evens system, handheld hoses may be used depending on your house number.
- Houses with even numbers can use a hand-held hose only on even numbered days; and
- Houses with odd numbers can use a hand-held hose only on odd numbered days.
Why do we need to conserve water?
Taranaki doesn’t have a never-ending supply of fresh water. Our water is a taonga (‘a treasure’) and we need to work together to look after it, especially over the dry months. Most of the water we rely on during these dry period is stored on the mounga, either in the form of snow, or as water in the soils. Once the snow has melted and the soils have drained, our streams start running low.
By adopting a water efficient lifestyle, we can reduce our impact on the environment (taking less water from our rivers and streams) and waste less of a limited resource.
One of the easiest ways to support with our water conservation efforts is by turning off taps and fixing any leaking taps and pipes on your property.