Total sprinkler ban in Hamilton likely if high water consumption continues


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3 February 2009

A total ban on domestic sprinklers could in place in Hamilton by the weekend if residents don't take immediate steps to reduce water consumption.

Hamilton reached alert level 2 last Thursday [29 January] after the city consumed over 65 million litres of water per day for the past week. This increased alert level brought with it new restrictions permitting residents to use sprinkler systems between 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm on alternate days only.

However despite the new alert level and its corresponding restrictions, consumption has not decreased – last Thursday when the new alert level was introduced the city consumed 72.38 million litres, before dropping slightly to 69.79 million litres last Friday. Weekend consumption climbed to 71.91 million litres on Saturday and 73.08 million litres on Sunday, before peaking at 75.51 million litres yesterday.

Hamilton City Council Treatment Plants Manager Tim Harty said it is disappointing consumption levels indicate that residents are not conserving water as this will ultimately result in much tighter restrictions for both residents and commercial/non-residential properties.

"So far Council has not put restrictions in place for commercial and non-residential properties. However residents have been asked to follow minor restrictions to reduce unnecessary water wastage around the home. A small behaviour change in each household would mean more serious restrictions would not be necessary as we all do our bit to conserve this precious resource.

"Current water usage levels indicate that the latest water restrictions have not eased consumption – if this trend continues we could very well be on alert level 3 by the weekend."

Alert level 3 would see a total ban on domestic sprinklers, with only hand-held hosing permitted. It would also be the first time this summer that restrictions are introduced for outdoor water use for commercial/non-residential properties.

"At alert level 3 we would be looking to place restrictions on commercial and non-residential properties for all non-essential outdoor water use," said Mr Harty. "For example, the types of measures we would be looking at introducing would be restricting watering of sports fields, golf courses and garden centres to early mornings and late evenings to reduce evaporation."

Hamilton City Council has already been taking steps to minimise its water usage by reducing city-wide asset washing and fleet vehicle washing, cutting back fountain operating hours and reducing irrigation at key sporting fields.

For more information on the water alert levels and the latest consumption levels visit

Name: Tim Harty
Designation: Treatment Plants Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 958 5873
Mobile: 021 451 104
Fax (Direct): 07 958 5871
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Page reviewed: 03 Feb 2009 12:00am