Water usage update

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15/02/2019 1:06:00 p.m.

Friday 15 February 2019

Water use update

This hot dry weather has resulted in Rotorua using a lot more water than usual. While our natural water springs are not running out of water, our current water use means sometimes water is emptying from our reservoirs faster than our pumps can refill them.

As the dry spell continues we’re seeing a gradual increase in water use each day. Overall water consumption is still really high and in the evenings the Eastern supply pumps have been unable to keep up with the demand but have managed to recover and refill reservoirs overnight.

During weekends we usually see a significant increase in consumption so we ask that this weekend people really think about cutting back on unnecessary water use, particularly outside the house.

We’re not issuing water restrictions or sprinkler bans yet, but we do need people to show real restraint with water use both inside and outside the house. This applies to all areas, and particularly our Eastern supply area (this includes Ngapuna, Lynmore, Owhata, Holdens Bay, Hannahs Bay, and out past the airport to Rotokawa).

Here are some simple ways to conserve water:

  • Do not over water lawns or gardens – a good watering once or twice a week should be enough.
  • Let lawns go brown, they’ll recover quickly once the rain returns.
  • Keep lawns longer to retain more water and create deeper roots for healthier grass.
  • If you do need to water gardens, use a watering can or a hand-held hose rather than a sprinkler.
  • Only water areas that need it.
  • Avoid excessive use of hoses for washing cars, houses or driveways. Try using a bucket and sponge instead.
  • Don’t waste water by unnecessarily running taps.
  • Fix any leaks on your property promptly.
  • Keep an eye out for water leaks in unusual places and call Council on 07 348 4199 if you see leaks in the street.

Water supply image

8 February 2019

Water usage update

As can be expected with this hot dry weather, water usage from all our supplies continues to be high, but has remained manageable over the past week.

However with no rain on the horizon, and temperatures looking to get particularly hot again next week, we ask that people continue to conserve water where possible. As these dry spells go on, we tend to see water usage increase, particularly on weekends.

Thank you again to everyone who has been responsible about their water use over the past week, it really makes a difference. Please remain conscious about water use and wastage inside and outside the house, and continue to make an effort to reduce water usage where possible. This will ensure our pumps can keep up and maintain adequate water in our reservoirs.

 

4 February 2019

Water usage update

Our water usage has become more manageable over the weekend and our pumps have coped better with current demand. We’re pleased to see our reservoirs almost refilling to usual levels but remind people to remain mindful about how much water they’re using, and to avoid any water wastage, especially as the weather seems set to stay fine throughout the week.

The topic of water usage has also sparked some discussion within the community about metering water usage.

Council’s current policy is to not meter residential properties in the urban water supply area.

This is periodically reviewed as part of our water management and water conservation strategy. Any future decisions on water metering would be addressed within the scope of Council’s long term planning and would take into consideration a range of factors including cost effectiveness.

The urban water supply area covers properties in the city, Eastern and Ngongotaha areas. Water usage is metered on all properties in rural areas and only commercial properties in the urban area.

Our water management and water conservation strategy is due for review in 2021, as part of work aligned to development of the next long-term plan (LTP). At that time all broad infrastructure strategies will be reviewed and following public consultation, decisions made.

Factors that will be taken into consideration in reviewing metering as an option would include:

  • Access to secure sources of water;

  • Current consented quantity of available sources, current water use and forecasted future demand;

  • Water quality reliability (does it consistently and reliably meet water standards);

  • Any risks related to water supply ownership;

  • Benefits of metering (how would it contribute to water supply security, quantity and reliability);

  • Costs (how would the capital and operating costs of metering compare to investment in other considerations like improving security, storage, reliability, quality of water supply).

Any change to the current water supply policy would ultimately be a decision for elected members, based on recommendations and factors to be considered.

The cost of water supply is funded through targeted rates:

  • There is a fixed annual charge for water for all households connected to Council’s water reticulation system.

  • The owners of properties which can connect to the system but choose not to are charged a fixed “availability charge”.

  • Those on meters are charged a fixed rate and a consumption charge which is based on the amount of water they use.

  • There are no water charges for rural properties that have their own on-site water supply.

Rural and commercial properties that are connected to Council’s reticulated system are metered to reflect  the higher cost associated with providing water to these more remote areas and the generally higher-than-average demand. This is about ensuring a fair pricing policy, ie those who use more will pay more.

 

1 February 2019

Water usage update

Water usage has been exceptionally high since last weekend and has exceeded the rate at which our pumps are able to replenish our water reservoirs on several days.

The situation has improved since early Thursday however we still ask that people remain very conscious of their water use in general, and particularly while the fine spell continues. A couple of big consumption days can quickly set us back, and weekends have traditionally shown higher consumption than weekdays.

Rotorua is lucky in that we have a number of reliable and plentiful water sources. Most of our water comes from springs which continue to produce water at a constant rate regardless of wet or dry weather.

In the current hot and dry weather conditions, our water sources are not drying up or running out of water. What is happening is that due to the hot weather, people’s water use has increased dramatically - they are noticing their gardens and lawns are looking dry and so they have started to water these, whereas two or three weeks ago they weren’t necessarily doing so.

While our water supply is ample, we are limited by our infrastructure and how much water we can pump from the springs into our reservoirs each day.

Our pumps are controlled by sensors that monitor reservoir levels. When these get below set levels our pumps start working to refill the reservoirs. Generally our pumps will operate for only some of the day, possibly in several periods of time. This week, on several days, the city and Eastern supply pumps were working 24 hours a day to try and keep our reservoirs at appropriate levels. However due to the increase in water consumption they were unable to keep up and each day our reservoir levels reduced slightly further. If this continued over an extended period of time, the reservoirs would run out and water wouldn’t be available to consumers. Restoring full supply could take up to a day, depending on how much of the network was without water.

At this stage water restrictions are not imminent, but this can change reasonably quickly depending on consumer water usage. Today it looks like we are getting back on track but we ask that people continue to keep a check on their water use. Rotorua Lakes Council will notify the public in the event of any water restriction being necessary.

 

30 January 2019

Sharp increase in water consumption over the past few days

Over the past few days there has been a sharp increase in water consumption in Rotorua.

While Council is currently not imposing any water restrictions, we encourage people to do what they can to ensure this won’t become necessary.

With January being especially hot and dry, we ask that people consider their water usage and try to conserve water where possible.

Most of our water supplies are managing with the increased demand, however consumption of our eastern and central city supplies exceeded capacity on Monday and Tuesday.

Last weekend the daily consumption on our three urban supplies was 42,200m3, which is 55% more than the average daily consumption during winter. The Eastern supply which serves residential areas from Ngapuna to the airport, recorded a 72% increase in consumption.

The increase in water use can largely be attributed to the widespread use of garden and lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems.

Rotorua is lucky in that we have a number of reliable and plentiful water sources, including springs and bores, however there are limits to how much water we can take, pump and store on a daily basis.

Given current water usage and with further hot weather forecast, it is timely that we ask people to be aware of the increased demand on our water supplies, and to avoid any unnecessary use or wastage of water.

Some simple ways to conserve water:

  • Do not over water lawns or gardens – a good watering once or twice a week should be enough.
  • Keep lawns longer to retain more water and create deeper roots for healthier grass.
  • Running your hose can waste a lot of water in a short amount of time. Use a watering can to hydrate your garden.
  • Do not leave sprinklers on overnight.
  • Only water areas that need it.
  • Avoid excessive use of hoses for washing cars, houses or driveways. Try using a bucket and sponge instead.
  • Don’t waste water by unnecessarily running taps.
  • Fix any leaks on your property promptly.
  • Keep an eye out for water leaks in unusual places and call Council on 07 348 4199 if you see leaks in the street.
Page reviewed: 15 Feb 2019 1:06pm