Tue, Jan 9, 2024 2:39 PM

Water restrictions for Picton and Waikawa


William Woodworth

Hot weather, high demand and a reduced water level in the Essons Valley dam is pushing the Picton and Waikawa mains water supply to its limit.

Marlborough District Council is asking Picton and Waikawa residents to limit their sprinkler use to alternate days in an attempt to ward off further water restrictions in the affected area this summer.

Operations and Maintenance Engineer Stephen Rooney says all households on the Picton and Waikawa supply need to adhere to the restrictions immediately. Handheld hoses can still be used but this should be limited.

“Water recently stopped flowing over the Essons Valley dam due to low rainfall in recent weeks. When this happens, algal growth quickly increases as water temperatures rise. This makes the water very difficult to treat to be compliant with the NZ Drinking Water Standards and reduces the volume of water available by up to 30 per cent,” Mr Rooney said.

“We are asking residents and businesses to think carefully about water use and cooperate with the restrictions, otherwise properties in elevated areas will run out of water when storage empties. We realise this is the time of the year when people irrigate lawns and gardens but we hope people will do this in a responsible manner, observing the limits Council has put in place,” he said.

The restrictions are:

  • A property with an even numbered street address may use sprinklers only on even numbered calendar days
  • A property with an odd numbered street address may use sprinklers only on odd numbered calendar days
  • Only one tap may be used at a time to run a sprinkler or sprinkler systems
  • The term sprinkler means any hose which is not held and directed by hand

“If these measures do not reduce demand enough, it will be necessary to escalate to Level 2 restrictions which would place a ban on all sprinkler use, allowing only watering by handheld hoses,” Mr Rooney said.

Council is also asking people to adopt water conservation habits such as:

  • Don’t leave automatic irrigation systems running for long periods
  • Consider installing flow limiters to taps to reduce water volume
  • If you have a timer on your irrigation system, irrigate at night between 10pm and 5am.

The restrictions apply to all properties on the Picton and Waikawa supply. Council will limit its own water use whilst minimising any disruption to its community facilities, including reduced watering at Endeavour Park.

Water levels at Picton’s other supply at Speeds Road are healthy and the treatment plant is operating at full capacity. All other water supplies in Marlborough - Blenheim, Havelock, Seddon, rural Awatere, Wairau Valley and Riverlands - are currently unaffected by the dry weather.

For more information go to: https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/services/utilities/water-supplies/picton-water-supply

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