Warning of water restrictions with dry summer ahead

by Kim Bowden - Dec 19, 2022

Weather forecasters are predicting a hot, dry summer, and Queenstown's water supply may not keep up with thirsty locals.

In its seasonal outlook NIWA says there's a La Nina weather pattern this year, which can dry out Otago and deliver "above average" temperatures.

In a statement today, the Queenstown Lakes District Council's infrastructure operations manager Simon Mason says water consumption has already started to rise rapidly following the end of winter, and temporary water restrictions may be required in the coming months.

He's encouraging residents and visitors to the district to be "wai wise" and conserve water, he says.

“No one enjoys restrictions around when and how we use water, especially when the heat of summer really sets in. But collectively, small changes in how we use water can have a significant impact on keeping our demand for water in check.

“The biggest gains are in when and how we water our lawns and gardens, making sure water leaks around the home are fixed, and calling Council immediately if you spot a water leak in public.

“One key change many of us can make is to water our lawns and gardens between the hours of 10pm and 6am, avoiding the heat of day and reducing water loss through evaporation. Ensuring irrigation is targeted and volumes are appropriate is also critical.” 

The district's one of the biggest water consumers in the country, with individuals using an average of 440 litres per day - That compares to the national average of just 281 litres per person day, and Auckland’s average – where every household is metered – of only 146 litres per person per day.

Mr Mason says even small steps, like reducing a shower time by one minute, can result in up to 20 litres of water being saved.

“Every litre of water we save helps us to reduce our carbon footprint too.”

In January, the council placed water restrictions on Lake Hāwea as demand outstripped supply.

QLDC giveaway to help get wai wise

To promote awareness of the issue and responsible use of water, the QLDC is giving away two bluetooth water timers for home sprinkler and irrigation systems, which can make it easier to water lawns and gardens at an appropriate time.

A range of tips for reducing water use and an entry form for the council's water timer giveaway can be found at: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/wai-wise.

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