Limits in place on water use

While many are rejoicing summer's eventual arrival in the Wakatipu, with cloudless days for almost two weeks, the rising mercury means water restrictions are in place for those on the Lake Hayes Scheme.

Queenstown Lakes District Council 3 waters operations engineer Martin Ellis said a "sudden increase" in water demand on the Lake Hayes Scheme water supply had resulted in the council asking residents to conserve water.

Mr Ellis said the council on Tuesday received notice the reservoir was near "low levels".

Use peaked overnight on Monday, with the reservoir losing water at a rate of 10% per hour between dusk and 3am, suggesting irrigation as the main cause.

It was restored to 85% on Tuesday morning, but Mr Ellis said the council had to retain 30% of the capacity in the reservoir at all times for firefighting.

The council would have no option but to impose a water ban on the supply if levels continued dropping towards the minimum required firefighting capacity.

"We would ask that people restrict irrigating to hand-held watering and water between the hours of 7pm and 7am, but not leave taps running overnight," he said.

Irrigation via a single standard hose connection (12mm hose) to a portable sprinkler or equivalent domestic fixed irrigation system (single-hose capacity) was fine for short periods, but using a commercial K-line system or any other high-capacity sprinkler would put too much of a drain on the system.

"Once again, the council intends to continue to work with high-end users to ensure this does not impose an unreasonable burden on all other Lake Hayes users, particularly at this time of year."

A letter outlining the situation was sent to residents yesterday.


Conserving water

- Residents can still water gardens using hand-held hoses and domestic sprinklers for periods of no more than an hour.
- Residents asked to water after 7pm or before 7am and to avoid "excessive watering", i.e. pooling or running into the gutter or footpaths.
- Residents asked to conserve water in homes by reducing shower time, recycling "grey water" (washing water etc) for watering plants, using a bucket when washing vehicles, optimising clothes washer and dishwasher use, avoiding leaving taps running.