Watering cuts imposed

Irrigation restrictions have been imposed in Lake Hayes, Arthur's Point and Hawea in a bid to conserve reservoir levels and maintain firefighting storage.

Queenstown Lakes District Council general manager Mark Kunath said in a statement yesterday irrigation restrictions were in place for residents connected to the Lake Hayes scheme after a "massive spike" in water use.

The scheme's reservoirs had dropped significantly, which could have threatened storage required for firefighting.

"I am delighted to say that Lake Hayes residents have heeded the ban and we are now seeing levels that can be managed as long as residents continue to adhere to hand-watering their gardens in the evenings only.

"Unfortunately, the situation is likely to continue until we see some significant rainfall."

Mr Kunath said watering with hand-held hoses used more than 900 litres an hour, but an irrigation scheme "can use in excess of 14,000 litres an hour; at this time of year multiple irrigation systems are not sustainable".