Level 3 water restrictions are now in place across Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour. Here we answer some of your questions about why the restrictions have been introduced and what they mean for you.
Why has the Council imposed water restrictions?
To help us upgrade our water wells faster so we can get back to chlorine-free water again.
If we can reduce demand for water, we can take more wells out of service and do the work needed to bring them up to a secure standard so they no longer need chlorine treatment.
So it’s not because we’re running out of water?
No, it’s not a supply issue; there’s plenty of water for everyone. We’ve put restrictions in place so we can upgrade our water wells as fast as possible.
What does ‘Level 3 restrictions’ mean?
It means watering with hand-held hoses only, and on alternate days:
- If you live at an on odd-numbered address, you can water your lawn or garden on odd dates (1st, 3rd, 15th, etc)
- If you live at an even-numbered address, you can water your lawn or garden on even dates (2nd, 4th, 18th, etc)
Unattended hoses, sprinklers, and garden irrigation systems are not permitted at any time.
How long will restrictions be in place?
From 4 March to 31 May 2019.
What about water-bottling plants and rural irrigators – why aren’t they facing restrictions?
Water-bottling plants and other self-suppliers like farms don’t use the Council’s water network and don’t affect our public water supply. We also don’t issue consents for taking groundwater, Environment Canterbury (ECan) does.
Is the Council restricting water use on its sports fields, parks and in the Botanic Gardens?
We are doing our best to lead by example. We’re trying to conserve water by only watering parks and sports fields after 9pm and before 7am, when it’s cooler.
However, some of our fields have a sand base, which must be watered during the day to prevent the turf from dying. If the turf died, it would be very expensive to replace.
The Botanic Gardens has its own private well so it is not drawing water from the public water supply, but it is supporting our conservation campaign by minimising watering during the day.
Are privately owned parks or sports clubs allowed to water their grounds?
If sports clubs or privately owned parks have their own wells, then they are allowed to water their grounds at any time because this will not impact on the Council’s public water supply.
What sort of enforcement policy is in place?
If people do report problems to us, our first step is to look into it and provide information to educate people about why water restrictions are in place. In extreme situations, we can take steps to limit the water supply at a property or, as a last resort, prosecute.
I recently reported a public water leak but it still isn’t fixed. Why?
We’ve recently seen a huge increase in the number of water leaks being reported to us (about 300 per week) and are working with our contractor, Citycare, to fix them as fast as possible. All the urgent jobs are being prioritised so they are fixed within an hour or a day. However, this means some minor repairs are taking longer to get to than they normally would. We are continuing to work closely with Citycare to address the issues in the best possible ways, including bringing in extra crews to fix leaks.
Even though it’s busy, it’s important people keep notifying us of leaks so we can investigate and do any repairs.