Ban on domestic garden sprinklers for Hamilton


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31 January 2008

Hamilton City Council is introducing a total ban on domestic garden sprinklers until further notice in order to reduce the amount of water being used by the city. It is the first time in more than 20 years such a measure has been taken.

Acting General Manager Works and Service, Barry Bergin, says the amount of water being used is at an unprecedented and unacceptably high level. Yesterdays consumption peaked at 87.01ML, which is the highest water consumption volume seen in Hamilton.

"That level of water consumption means that the city's water treatment plant is operating at near full capacity which is not sustainable. If city water consumption continues to increase at the current rate the treatment plant may struggle to refill reservoirs which risks intermittent failure of water supply."

The current water consumption for Hamilton is averaging about 20 million litres more per day than last year.

Mr Bergin says the key message to the people of Hamilton is that we need cooperation in order to bring water usage down.

For the past several weeks Hamilton has been operating on a restricted sprinkler ban, with residents only being able to use sprinklers on alternate days, however these savings have not been sufficient to outweigh the overall increase in water consumption.

General Manager of Community Services Sue Duignan says that while the water ban applies to domestic sprinklers Council will continue to contribute to water conservation efforts via a reduced watering plan for key city assets.

"Council has been acutely aware of the situation for some time and has been operating a reduced watering programme for the last 8 weeks. Residents may have already noticed the browning off of a number of the city's gardens and sports fields.

"Economics dictate however that key city assets such as our playing fields and street beautification areas will need to be maintained by a reduced watering programme. The long-term implication of not watering these assets at all would put significant financial burden on the city in terms of re-establishment costs, not to mention public inconvenience as a result of unusable sporting grounds.

"Our largest garden asset, Hamilton Gardens will be largely unaffected as it operates on its own water system taking untreated water from the Waikato River to maintain 90% of the garden area."

Similarly Council recognises other enterprises in the city are dependant on sprinkler systems for commercial survival thus the ban only applying to domestic watering at this point. Organisations such as garden centres, bowling clubs and sports grounds are asked however that during this time they do whatever they can to contribute to city water conservation.

Mr Bergin says that a team of monitors will be patrolling Hamilton residential streets looking out for sprinkler usage.

"Sprinkler monitors will be leaving reminders to households using sprinklers of the ban and asking them to play their part in water conservation for the city. There is provision under the Water Supply Bylaw for Council to both prosecute and restrict the supply of water to households who continue to disregard water conservation measures.

"The ban on sprinklers will be constantly reviewed and if we fail to achieve the water conservation needed then more stringent conservation measures will need to be introduced such as a complete ban on hose usage.

"We have enjoyed a very sunny summer and the medium term forecast is for continued dry conditions. This has put us in a position the city has not experienced in many decades. Everyone can make a contribution at home to reducing water consumption by packing away the sprinkler for the season."

The sprinkler ban takes effect immediately and will continue until further notice.

Other easy ways for the city to save water

  • Limit outdoor hose use to essential uses such as keeping plants alive: avoid washing cars, paths and driveways
  • Attend to any leaks and dripping taps
  • Shower shorter and consider a low flow shower head
  • Avoid unnecessary toilet flushing
  • Minimise washing machine and dishwasher use with fewer loads and shorter cycles


Name: Barry Bergin
Designation: Acting General Manager Works and Service
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6590
Mobile: 021 954 349

Name: Sarah Bettle
Designation: Communication Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6843
Mobile: 021 2792338

Page reviewed: 31 Jan 2008 12:00am