Auckland’s water restrictions will be lifted this weekend after almost 18 months of water-saving efforts were put in place because of a major drop in the city’s dam levels.
Auckland Council has announced that from Saturday, remaining outdoor restrictions will officially be lifted.
Those restrictions currently in place prevent the use of outdoor sprinklers, but do allow the use of hoses fitted with trigger nozzles.
Mayor Phil Goff said a significant amount of rainfall recorded in August had helped boost water levels in dams.
They are now above normal levels and that, including new water supply established since May last year, provides enough certainty that no further restrictions will be needed in the near future.
“After a record-breaking drought in 2019/20 and a long period of drier than normal conditions, increased rainfall since August has significantly boosted dam storage levels,” Goff said.
“Aucklanders have done a fantastic job of reducing their water consumption over the 17 months since restrictions were first introduced – saving more than 20 billion litres.
“The water-saving habits that Aucklanders had developed over that time had also seen people using, on average, 36 million litres less water every day than in 2019.”
The Auckland Council is also backing Watercare to increase water supply in the region – which by the first quarter of next year will be up to 104 million litres a day higher than the pre-drought period.
Efforts to conserve water in the region included a ban on outdoor use of hoses and some car wash facilities. Other efforts included the release of 4-minute sand-timer devices that were attached inside a shower – encouraging people to take shorter showers.
Watercare chief executive Jon Lamonte said all those efforts had helped hugely and forecasters predicting a slightly wetter-than-normal summer in Auckland meant it was unlikely water restrictions would be imposed during summer.
“However, mandatory restrictions will always serve as a tool for managing severe droughts in the future,” Lamonte said.
“They’re commonly used around the world during a drought as a way of stretching out the available supply until the rain returns.
“We’ve only needed restrictions twice in our 29-year history, but at some point in the future we’ll likely need to apply them again.”
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