Smart water questions and answers

To find out what water restrictions are currently in place in Hamilton please visit​.

​Q. Why do we have water restrictions?

A. Water restrictions are put in place to ensure there is enough water for everyone to use, especially during a dry summer.

Q. What are water restrictions?

A. Water restrictions set boundaries for water use during an long period of dry weather, usually during spring, summer and autumn. It helps ensure everyone plays their part in using water wisely.

Q. There's lots of water in the Waikato River, so why do we need water restrictions?

A. The water in the Waikato River flows from Lake Taupo. Even though it looks plentiful, it is not unlimited. We have resource consent to take water from the river, along with more than 100 other river users. The consent states how much water we can take and requires us to use it responsibly and wisely. By putting water restrictions in place, ensures there's enough water for all the users, as well as the many ecosystems that rely on the Waikato River.

Q. Why can car wash businesses operate when we have water restrictions?

A. Car wash businesses use recycled water.

Q. How many 'Alert Levels' are there? 

A. There are four Alert Levels from one (1) which is minor restrictions through to level four (4) which is full restrictions.

Q. Which 'Alert Level' did we reach last summer?

Last summer 2013-2014, we went to Alert Level 2. The previous year we went to Alert Level 3 and were lucky everyone used water wisely, so we didn't have to go to Alert Level 4.​

Q. We’ve been at Water Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3 before, what would Alert Level 4 be like?

A. There would be no outside non-essential water use by domestic, commercial and non-residential water users. This means no hoses, sprinklers, irrigation systems can be used unless it's essential. We would need to move to water Alert Level 4 when we implement our low river level contingency plan - which requires a significant reduction in our water use.

Q. Why is it important water supplied from a bore or spring should still be conserved?

A. The flow to springs, streams and rivers can be reduced; neighbouring bores can be affected, with bore levels declining over the long term, reducing the future availability of water.  For springs connected to coastal aquifers, over-extracting increases the risk of saltwater being drawn into the fresh water reserves. This can make the spring permanently unsuitable for drinking and many other uses.

Q. How do the water levels of Waikato River and Lake Taupo effect how much water can be taken from the rivers?

A. The city takes untreated water from the Waikato River into the water treatment plant on Peacockes Rd. The river’s depth is mostly determined by the level of Lake Taupo, as it is the source of the Waikato River. When there is no rain, water levels in the lake and river fall, which impacts our ability to take water from the river. 

Q. If we get a lot of rain, will we be fine?

A. Rain in the Waikato will be great for our farms, gardens, parks and local waterways. However for the city’s water supply, we need the rain to fall in the Lake Taupo catchment.

Page reviewed: 15 Apr 2016 3:33pm