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Christchurch City Council Media Release Friday 12 December 1997


Water restrictions possible.

Residents urged to conserve water now.

The Christchurch City Council is warning that water restrictions could be necessary due to the El Nino weather pattern, with its lack of rainfall and hot dry weather. Residents are being asked to lower their water consumption and adopt water conservation measures.

Water consumption has been up above the five year average in September, October and November, rainfall has been well below average, while temperatures have been significantly higher.

Daily average water consumption 1997 (cu.m) 5 year daily average water
consumption (cu. m)
1997 rainfall in mms Long term average Average daily maxtemp


Long term average max temp C
Sept 127,700 120,600 10.2 45.9 14.0 14.9
Oct 145,500 141,000 24.1 47.6 18.5 17.3
Nov 196,200 165,600 19.5 45.9 22.1 19.4

November’s per person water use was the highest November water use since the 1988 drought conditions, when hosing restrictions were imposed. December’s water use is currently 700 litres per person per day which is the highest level since December 1990.

The Chief Meteorologist has said:

"... it is expected that Canterbury will experience the worst of El Nino’s impact this summer."

Allan Watson, Council Water Services Manager, says that "while groundwater levels in the Christchurch district are satisfactory at present, efficient water use will ensure that stress on both the resources and pumping system. We hope restrictions will not be necessary, but high demand may well mean some restrictions on things like sprinkler use are unavoidable.

Each week, during summer, the Christchurch City Council will be releasing weekly water consumption figures and a water saving tip to media to promote to the public to assist in lowering water consumption. There will also be television, radio and newspaper advertising. Residents can get Council booklets ‘Efficient use of water in your garden’ and ‘Help save our precious water,’ from service centres, or by ringing 03 371-1387.

Attached are a list of ways residents can save water, taken from the Christchurch City Council booklet, ‘How you can help save our precious water’.

For further information contact:

Councillor David Close 03 388-0151
Chair Strategy and Resources Committee

Councillor Carole Evans 03 379-0631
Chair Environmental Committee

Councillor Denis O’Rourke 03 379-1913
Chair City Services Committee

Allan Watson 03 371-1303
Water Services Manager

12 December 1997


Suggestions from "How you can help save our precious water"

by the Christchurch City Council

Full water savings from each suggestion are listed in the booklet.


Making sure outside taps are off.

Checking for leaks in taps pipes and plumbing.

Using a broom rather than a hose to clean concrete , paths and driveways.

Use a bucket of water rather than a hose to clean your car.


Do not water the garden during nor’westers.

Avoid overwatering of gardens

Cover exposed soil around plants with mulch to retain moisture.

Water only when necessary, allow plants to develop deeper roots.

Plan your garden to minimise water use, have some drought resistant plants, keep plants that need significant water together so that they can be spot watered.

Only hand water lawns.

Put timers on irrigation systems, but only use them when there is a real need for water.


Use only a cup of water for shaving, do not run the tap.

Take shorter showers.

Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.

Install water saving shower heads in your shower.

Check bathroom taps for leaks.

Keep baths to a minimum.


Microwave, steam or pressure cook vegetables, do not boil vigorously.

Wait until the dishwasher is full before using.

Do not leave the tap running while cleaning vegetables, use a bowl of water.

Thaw frozen foods ahead of time, rather than using running water.

Have drinking water in the fridge, running the tap before it cools down wastes four times what is drunk.

Avoid rinsing dishes under a running tap into the drain.

Check taps and pipes for leaks.


Have a full load of clothes before you do the washing.

Avoid double washing and use spot washing and soaking whereever possible.

Check your toilet for leaks.

Make every flush count, do not use the toilet for rubbish disposal.

Use smaller flushes, using a flush saving device, such as a brick in the cistern.

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