Auckland Council has agreed to ease water restrictions for summer.

From 14 December, residents in the supercity will be able to use a hand-held hose at home, provided it is attended and has a trigger nozzle.

However, residents have been warned to use water wisely as a shortage continues.

The city experienced its worst drought on record between 1 November 2019 and 31 May 2020, and storage dams still 19 per cent below average for this time of year.

Mayor Phil Goff said the city was "not out of the woods yet".

Data as of Thursday, November 26 (Source: Watercare)

Watercare and the council had spent $224 million to increase water supply, he said.

“Aucklanders have been fantastic in their response to the call to conserve water, with residents and businesses saving around 7 billion litres of water since restrictions were put in place.

"We are already taking 25 million litres a day more from the Waikato River, and by mid next year we will take a further 50 million litres through the expansion of our Tuakau treatment plant.

"A further 5 million litres a day is coming from the new Pukekohe plant we opened last Friday, with 6 million to 12 million litres extra from the Hays Creek dam starting early January.

"More supply and greater water conservation should see us through the summer, but if serious drought continues and demand increases radically, restrictions will have to be put back in place."

Watercare acting chief executive Marlon Bridge said the eased restrictions would allow people to water their gardens, top up pools, flush boat motors and wash their homes and cars - but only using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle.

Sprinklers and residential irrigation systems are not permitted. Home water blasters with trigger nozzles can also be used.

Watercare liaison councillor Linda Cooper says the adjustment will offer some relief to Aucklanders and hopes that people follow them wisely.

“Taking care of a garden and growing fruit and vegetables is important for many Aucklanders’ wellbeing, as is carrying out those summer around-the-home tasks like water blasting and house washing.

Watercare acting chief executive Marlon Bridge says the adjusted restrictions are more aligned with the restrictions regularly imposed by councils around New Zealand in summer, allowing for controlled outdoor water use. They enable people to water their gardens, top up pools, flush boat motors and wash their homes and cars – but only using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle. Sprinklers and residential irrigation systems are not permitted. Home water blasters with trigger nozzles can also be used.

Source: Watercare

Bridge warns that if drought conditions get worse or water use exceeds Auckland’s overall consumption target, then more stringent restrictions may need to be reimposed to ban the use of outdoor hoses. 

“The need to save water hasn’t gone away. But with the extra water sources and the more favourable weather forecast, we can support limited outdoor use.

“We’ve developed a visual to help people see how we’re tracking in terms of consumption. It’s on billboards, bus shelters, websites and social media – and reinforced on the radio – so it’s easy for people to access.

“I’m confident we’re in a good position heading into summer. Our community has proven it is excellent at saving water – please keep that up.”

Comprehensive information on what residents and businesses can do while meeting the terms of the restrictions can be found on the Watercare website.

via RNZ: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/431497/auckland-council-eases-water-restrictions-for-summer