Masterton District Council has introduced further water restrictions following continued dry conditions.
Sprinkler use is banned – only hand-held hoses may be used.
Restrictions are linked to flow levels in the Waingawa River, the source of Masterton’s drinking water.
When the river’s flow rate falls below 1,300 litres per second, sprinklers are banned, and households are restricted to using hand-held hoses to water their property.
Restrictions are publicised on the Council’s website, Facebook page and Instagram account @MastertonDC, and through the free Antenno app (available through the Apple Appstore and Google Play).
There are also Council billboards on Chapel Street, near the fire station, Dixon Street, near Kuripuni, and at the entrance of the Masterton transfer station.
Council Chief Executive David Hopman said that while restrictions were not ideal, the health of the Waingawa River had to be a priority.
“The reality of living in our part of the country is that we sometimes have hot, dry summers and restrictions are required on water use.
“We will keep an eye on the flow rates of the river and respond if rainfall allows us to ease restrictions.
“But if dry conditions continue, all garden watering would be prohibited if flows fall below 1,100l/s.”
Nearly 90 per cent of urban Masterton homes now have water meters installed.
These will not be used for charging purposes until the 2023/24 financial year but can be used to identify potential leaks.
If all taps are turned off, and numbers on the meter are continuing to turn, it may indicate a leak, and the council should be contacted.
Do your part, be water smart
The Council appreciates that not watering gardens may be a big ask for some people, but there are some handy tips and tricks that can help you save water both in your home and in your garden.
In your home:
- Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers.
- Fix any leaky taps, toilets and showers. Also fix dripping garden taps.
- Install dual-flush toilets instead of single flush toilets when renovating.
- Use the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.
- Put the plug in the sink when shaving or washing hands, dishes or vegetables, and run just enough water for what you’re doing.
- Don’t use your toilet as a rubbish bin; it takes a lot more water to flush down sanitary waste, cigarette butts, food leftovers, etc.
- Install a shower flow-saver disc to your existing shower to not only reduce the excess flow of water but also your water heating bill.
- Use water-efficient appliances, bathroom fittings and tapware. The “star” rating stickers indicate the water-efficiency, and there can be large differences in water use between products, so make sure to buy or upgrade to water-efficient when possible.
Outside your home:
- Use a hose with a trigger to control the water flow and the start-stop action. It also helps direct water without wasting any.
- Turn the tap off when you’re finished.
- Use a broom to sweep hard surfaces like paths and driveways instead of trying to hose down leaves and twigs.
- Use a bucket and sponge instead of a hose to wash your car and, where possible, wash your car on the lawn to prevent soapy water from entering the street drain and into streams and rivers.
In your garden:
- Switch to drought-tolerant plants to cope with dry summer weather and watering restrictions.
- Recycle bath/shower water or water used in your washing machine (also called greywater) on the garden, but only on plants that are not going to be eaten. Greywater should not be stored and should be used immediately to prevent disease.
- Group your plants into high or low water users to develop an efficient watering system.
- Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil and to protect from drying effects of wind and sun. Mulching also helps keep weeds away.
- Weed your garden regularly as weeds compete for available moisture.
- Leaf cover and lawn clippings left on the lawn serve as a good mulch to provide shade, slow water loss, conserve moisture and help preserve nutrients in the soil.
- Test soil moisture every 4-7 days during dry weather conditions, and only water if needed.
- Don’t let the sun and wind strip your plants off their moisture. Water your garden on calm days during the cool hours – early morning or evening – to avoid rapid evaporation.
- Water your garden low and slow – plants take up moisture through their feeder roots and low, slow watering by hand is the best way to get it there. Moveable sprinklers are the least water effective.
- Deep soak your plants to encourage feeder roots to grow deeply in search of water instead of sprinkling, which encourages shallow roots.
- Avoid over-watering your plants as it encourages fungus, root rot, rusts, mildew and black-spot.