Level 1 water restrictions have been introduced across Christchurch to ensure the Council can keep supplying a fair amount of water while keeping enough in reserve for fire-fighting.
Several consecutive days of hot weather are forecast for the city which is expected to push up demand for water and put the water supply network under extreme pressure.
Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters and Waste Helen Beaumont says similar temperatures two weeks ago saw the city use the highest levels of water in a decade, so the Council is taking steps now to curb demand.
“When we get back-to-back days of high temperatures, we struggle to get water through the network fast enough to meet the demand. This means there’s a risk that we can’t keep supplying drinking water at a constant flow and pressure. There’s also the risk that we won’t have enough water in reserve to fight fires if we need to.
“For these reasons, we’re introducing water restrictions from today so the city’s water use can lower to a more manageable level, especially in the evenings, when we’re seeing the most extreme demand.”
Ms Beaumont says the restrictions are not because of a low water supply.
“It's not that we’re going to run out of water from the aquifers – there’s plenty of water available. The issue is that when demand for water is extremely high, we can only supply so much of it through the network’s pumps, pipes and reservoirs.
“Water-bottling plants and other self-suppliers like farms have their own water supplies and don’t use the Council’s water network, so they don’t affect our ability to supply Christchurch residents with drinking water.”
Level 1 restrictions means no outdoor water use is permitted between 3pm and 9pm, and the use of hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems is permitted only on alternate days.
If you live at an odd-numbered address, you can water your garden on odd dates (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc). If you live at an even-numbered address, you can water on even dates.
“We are monitoring the weather and the city’s water use on a daily basis. If we need to, we will move to a higher level of restrictions,” adds Ms Beaumont.
Level 4 restrictions – a total ban on outdoor water use – were introduced in parts of Banks Peninsula earlier this month. That was because the streams that supply drinking water to Akaroa, Duvauchelle and Takamatua dropped very suddenly following extreme temperatures and drying north-westerly winds.