Mon, Jan 15, 2024 1:45 PM

Water restrictions relax slightly as community heeds warning


Paula Hulburt

People in Picton and Waikawa have been heeding council’s warning to conserve water – with handheld hoses now getting the go ahead.

Council’s Operations and Maintenance Engineer Stephen Rooney says the community’s response to the call over the weekend to save water has been positive.

A total sprinkler ban remains in place for Picton and Waikawa residents as well as no boat washing at launching ramps in the town, no car washing and limits on Council’s irrigation of local parks.

But as everyone steps in to help, demand has dropped and handheld hoses can now be used to water gardens, council reveal.

“We thank everyone for their efforts and ask everyone to keep it up and do more if they can,” Stephen says.

“The message remains the same - make every drop count.

“Don’t use sprinklers, take a short shower, turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth, don’t wash your car or do any other activity that will draw more water from the supply.

“This means we can allow hand-held hoses to be used to water gardens, but that is the only relaxation of the restrictions we can make at this point in time.”

The water fountain in Picton Foreshore's children's play area has been turned off to help save water. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Port Marlborough have also confirmed that cruise ships are not being provided with water when they dock in Picton after rumours started locally the ships were contributing to the problem.

The last significant weather-related water restriction in Picton was in 2000/01 and short-term restrictions were also in force over the summer of 2015/16.

Stepehen says council’s engineers had been able to re-programme the Essons Valley treatment plant so that it can UV-treat the water as a short-term measure to combat algae growth.

But algae will continue to bloom behind the dam if the hot weather continues, Stephen warns.

“We are still facing uncertainty until we get significant rainfall,” Stephen says.

“The light rain over the weekend in the Picton area was welcome but has made very little difference to our supply.”

Last week water stopped flowing over the Essons Valley dam due to low rainfall, high levels of evapotranspiration and high summer demand, so the township has been reliant on the Speeds Road supply and reservoirs at the Elevation and Victoria Domain.

Adequate levels must be retained in the reservoirs to cater for power outages at Speeds Road and for firefighting purposes.

The restrictions are:

· A total sprinkler ban

· No washing of boats at the Picton and Waikawa boat ramps

· No car washing

· Limits on irrigation at Endeavour Park

· Closure of the water fountain on the Picton Foreshore

The restrictions apply to all properties on the Picton and Waikawa supply until further notice.

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