Whakatāne District Council is considering the use of water restriction status signs to highlight the need to conserve water as the District experiences a run of hot and dry weather. If required, the signs will be placed at key Whakatāne and Ōhope locations until the weather breaks. For the next few days it’s a watching brief, but if the current run of weather continues, Council will need to take action.

Tomasz Krawczyk, Whakatāne District Council Manager Three Waters, says in recent years, voluntary water use reductions have helped ensure reservoir storage for the Whakatāne and Ōhope water supply schemes is maintained at a safe level, allowing formal restrictions on hose and sprinkler use to be avoided.

“The current dry conditions are steadily reducing the Whakatāne River flow and if there is no significant rainfall in the next two weeks or so, we’ll reach a point where salt water intrusion will begin to restrict our intake from the Whakatāne River around high tides,” he explains.

“While we can address this to a degree, any voluntary conservation measures the community implements will help us keep pace with demand and maintain reservoir storage at a level that can cope with emergency situations, such as firefighting requirements or major pipe failures.”

He says that if the dry weather continues, the Council will put in place a familiar three-stage restriction process, beginning with a call for voluntary reductions in water use. If needed, stage two would see the blue ‘conserve water now’ signs replaced by orange signs, indicating that hoses and sprinklers can only be used on alternate days, between 6 am – 8 am and 6 pm – 8 pm. The third stage, marked by a red water restriction status sign, would see a total ban introduced on all hose and sprinkler use.

Further information about the water conservation and restriction process will be provided if and when the programme is implemented.