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Think before you water

Published: 18 November 2021

Water Conservation Plan Soundshell Lawn Sept 2019 15

Napier weather has gone from severe storm warnings to a heat wave in a few short weeks. Making a call on when to introduce water restrictions means keeping a close eye on water use and taking a long term view on how to ensure there’s enough to go around right through the summer.

Water supply isn’t just for day-to-day, domestic use. Making sure there’s enough capacity at all times for fire-fighting and as essential back-up to Napier’s drinking water bores are important parts of the equation.

Phil Green, who leads Council’s water operations team, monitors water production and use, daily. His team keeps a close eye on what percentage of maximum production Napier is using every day. Their knowledge will be Napier’s most important tool when it comes to helping the City conserve water.

“Conserving water all year round is the best way to make sure we don’t have to get strict with restrictions,” says Phil.

Water restrictions will kick in as soon as daily demand for water reaches 70% of the available water production (about 44 million litres) for seven days in a row.

“When we get to that point we will move from conservation into restriction measures, and then step up through the restriction levels,” Phil says.

Napier often records one of the highest water use levels in the country, and uses double the amount in summer as it does in winter.

There’s plenty of things the public can do to help water go the distance. Shorter showers, shallower baths, turning off taps when teeth brushing rather than letting the water run down the drain all help. Handheld sprinklers, twilight watering, fixing leaks, mulching plants and even considering water use when choosing which plants to put in the garden all go a little way towards managing Napier’s demand on water.

“For your lawn, one big water once a week and letting it soak right into the soil is a better use of water than watering every day,” Phil says.

Napier Council has changed the way it uses water in public spaces in recent years. This includes only watering gardens and sports grounds during cooler periods, just enough to keep plants hydrated, and the grounds soft enough to host matches.

The annual water conservation campaign Saving H2O Is The Way To Go – a collaboration between Napier, Hastings District, Central Hawke’s Bay and Hawke’s Bay Regional councils - will begin soon. The campaign shares useful tips showing how small actions can be very effective in saving water.

For more information on water restrictions and how Napier City Council manages its water demand, go to #restrictions.

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