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Warm dry summer could force further water restrictions

17 December 2008

Christchurch and Banks Peninsula residents are being asked to conserve water now, with warm temperatures, potentially low rainfall and reduced stream flows predicted for coastal Canterbury this summer.


The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) seasonal climate outlook for December 2008 to February 2009 forecasts above average temperatures, normal or below normal rainfall, and below normal soil moisture levels and stream flows. Stronger than usual north-westerly winds are also predicted.


Christchurch City Council Technical Services Team Leader Gareth Phillips says restrictions have already been imposed in Akaroa and Takamatua, almost a month earlier than usual. Level one restrictions are in place, meaning people with odd-numbered street addresses can water their gardens on odd-numbered days of the month, and those with even-numbered street addresses can water on even-numbered days.


Mr Phillips says conditions and demand may force the restriction level to rise. This would be advertised on the water restriction signs in Akaroa, or people can call 0800 800 169 for information. Level two restrictions mean hand-held garden watering only, and level three bans all watering.


“Banks Peninsula’s stream-fed water supplies mean shortages go hand-in-hand with dry weather.


“While water restrictions haven’t been necessary in Christchurch City since the 1990s, NIWA’s predictions suggest we should conserve water to avoid restrictions this summer,” Mr Phillips says.


Council Resource Efficiency Team Leader Kevin Crutchley says this year’s Waterwise education campaign focuses on ways to save water outside the home.


“We’re encouraging people to target water use so it reaches the plants that need it, and to only water your garden when it’s cool to prevent evaporation.


“Washing your car on the lawn with a bucket of water instead of a running hose also saves a lot of water, as does covering your swimming pool when it’s not in use to stop water evaporating,” Mr Crutchley says.

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