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Masterton residents will be encouraged to do their bit for the environment this summer as new water restrictions force the need for conservation.

Masterton District Council has been working with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to better understand how the district can balance water consumption with preserving the health of the district’s rivers.

Earlier this year the Council adopted its wellbeing strategy – Our People, Our Land, He Hiringa Tangata, He Hiringa Whenua – which includes a focus on environmental development.

Acting Chief Executive David Hopman says water conservation is a priority under this policy as the Council works to ensure sustainable environments for future generations.

“Water conservation is incredibly important for our district as it’s only going to become scarcer in the future,” Mr Hopman says.

“This summer our water restrictions are going to change. People have become familiar with the fact they are restricted to using handheld hoses only on alternate days during summer. The reality is that this restriction may escalate to a complete watering ban for a period of time during summer, depending on the level of the rivers.”

The water restrictions will be directly tied to the level of the Waingawa River – if its flow rate gets below a certain level it will instigate the enforcement of different water restrictions.

Mr Hopman accepted the change would likely bring resistance, but all community members were being forced to reassess water consumption.

“That includes us – we have sportfields and plantings that we need to consider when planning our water consumption. While some of this water use is on different consents, we need to look at our water use behaviour on a holistic level.

“To help people start thinking of different ways they can save water we’ll be launching a campaign with a range of different tactics and ideas this Spring.”

Residents will be encouraged to get water-wise in the lead up to summer with a range of educational materials available on the Masterton District Council website and Facebook page from Spring onwards.