Waikato prepares for sweaty, thirsty days


Smart water starts with you’ campaign for Waikato (Photo supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton,  January 16, 2023

Water use in the Waikato is expected to rise, with the summer forecast to be one of the hottest on record for New Zealand.

Residents are urged to prepare for the coming season by looking at their water habits now and making lasting changes that could help reduce demand on the region’s water supply.

Waitomo District Council’s Three Waters Manager, David Karrol, said that despite the heavy rainfall the Waitomo district has endured this year, it is predicted to be a hot summer, which means increased demand for water supply.

“Last summer our district reached Alert Level 4 for the first time in a while, with demand outstripping supply. This was particularly the case in Mōkau, where the population increases significantly during the summer season,” he said.

Graph showing comparative water usage over the years (Photo supplied)

“If we are more mindful of conserving our water even in the earlier stages of the dry season, it will help create habits that will make a difference when water conservation is needed most.

“We do not want a repeat of last summer with prolonged water restrictions, so if everyone can play their part by using water wisely, we can hopefully make a big difference.”

Hamilton City Council’s Three Waters Unit Director, Maire Porter, said “We closely monitor water use, weather predictions and trends from previous summers to guide how we manage water in the city. We have seen water use slowly increase over the past month and historical trends indicate that with improving weather, the level of water use will only continue to increase throughout summer.”

We are asking our community to ensure they are careful with how they use their water and try out some of our water-saving tips on the smart water website, as we aim to avoid the need to put water restrictions in place over summer.”

Waipā District Council’s Water Services Manager, Martin Mould, said that even though alert levels were not implemented in Waipā last summer, residents need to get into the mindset that water savings should be a habit, not an afterthought.

He said “Water is a precious resource and over summer we see a water use spike in households. Last summer we saw a large increase over January, February, and March, we want people to be mindful of how much water they use and utilise the water-saving tips.”

 About Smart Water and partnering Councils

Smart Water is a partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council. It aims to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water from the source to tap and support schools, organisations and the community to value water and use it efficiently.

Smart Water’s new and improved website has everyday water-saving tips that can make an immediate difference in decreasing water consumption, including to:

  • Choose one water-saving tip that you will start doing and make it a permanent habit.
  • Keep pool cover on – on average, a 3.5m metre pool loses 53 litres a day to evaporation – that’s the same as leaving your kitchen tap running full blast for over 8 minutes every day! A pool cover also keeps bugs and leaves out and stops the sun from turning the water green.
  • Take your kids to your local public pool to cool down.
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge so you don’t need to run the tap.
  • Mulch your plants – this will stop 97% of the water from evaporating. Use bark, grass clippings or pea straw.
  • Water is going to be in demand – use it for the things that matter. Let your lawn go brown and use water for your veggies.
  • You might take more frequent showers to stay cool but be mindful to keep them short.
  • Collect rainwater from your roof and use it on your plants.
  • Raise your lawnmower blade up a notch – grass can survive the heat better when it is longer.
  • Rinse your feet before getting into a pool. Water will stay cleaner and require fewer chemical additives.

‘The Smart Water Starts with you’ sub-regional summer campaign aims to make long-term changes to how we use water and is a joint venture between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council.

Tips to save water and make summer cool (INL image)

Waikato fresh water facts

Our region has more than 100 lakes, over 20 rivers, about 1400 streams and many underground aquifers. We have also got the longest river and largest lake in the country.

So why is there a need to conserve water? From fresh water for agriculture, industry, power generation and usage for households, water is definitely the most essential natural asset.

Our recent summer droughts in previous years are a strong reminder that we cannot take our freshwater resources for granted.

In the Waikato region, about 75% of people live in urban areas, about 65% of water used is taken from rivers and streams and about half of region’s rural population relies on groundwater for drinking.

 

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

 

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