Friday, 13 January 2023
Expert Q&A: Why water restrictions are needed
Our water services experts answer some questions to help us understand the current restrictions
It’s hot and dry in our region and while we can be thankful we escaped the wrath of Cyclone Hale, demand on our water during peak times has shot up by 300% in some areas and so water restrictions are needed to safeguard our supply.
We asked our water services experts some questions to help us understand this situation…
What’s happening right now?
This hot and dry weather we’re enjoying at the moment means we’re all using a lot more water than we normally would and, at high demand times during the day, our reservoirs are draining faster than they can fill. After around 10.00pm demand tapers off and we’re able to fill our reservoirs again. But we need to work together to reduce these spikes in demand by being a bit more aware of how and when we use our water.
What would happen if we ran out of water?
Safeguarding access to water is in the best interests of everyone. We especially need to keep some in reserve in the event of a fire – which is at a heightened risk with the hot and dry weather we have right now.
Should we be building more or bigger reservoirs to avoid future restrictions?
Our infrastructure is sufficient to produce, store, and supply water to meet everyone’s needs, but these occasional peak summer demand spikes mean we need to be more careful with the amount of water we use and when we use it.
We’re investing in water infrastructure across the district to keep up with population growth, and have plenty of infrastructure projects underway or complete, which you can find out about here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/your-council/major-projects#three-waters.
Unfortunately, Queenstown Lakes District is one of the biggest water consumers in the country. Households use an average of 440L of water per day, compared with the national average of 281L and Auckland’s average of 146L. The cost to scale up water production and storage facilities to enable everyone to irrigate their lawns and gardens through the hottest days of the year would be significant. But if we can all change our habits, we’ll reduce the chance of restrictions and help to ensure we have the same access to water all year round.
Why are level 1 restrictions focused on outdoor water use?
The increased demand on water is mostly due to more people using water outdoors. This climate is tough on our gardens and while we want people to be able to maintain their lawns and veges, we’re asking them to shift their watering to a time that is both less straining on our system and more efficient for your garden – a win/win.
Here are some tips on how best to maintain your lawns.
What do these restrictions mean for Council-owned facilities and other commercial operators?
Our Parks and Reserves team has worked to get around all of our parks and reserves to update the automated irrigation programmes to comply with the restrictions.
However, if you spot any other Council facilities that are not complying, please do get in touch with our Services team on 03 441 0499 and let us know.
If commercial operators use irrigation in their day-to-day activities, they’ll need to comply with only using irrigation systems between 12.00am and 6.00am, and keep hand-held hosing to a minimum alongside everyone else. By working together to use our water wisely, we can safeguard our water supply, help our reservoirs fill, and avoid any further restrictions.
Why is irrigation being used on the Queenstown Events Centre fields and McBride Park?
We’re currently working to upgrade the playing surfaces on field 1a and 1b at Queenstown Events Centre and at McBride Park, and the crews on site are using irrigation to control dust created by the works.
Queenstown Lakes District is at water alert level 1 restrictions. What does this mean?
This requires residents and visitors to:
Keep hand-held hosing to a minimum at all times
Only use irrigation systems between midnight and 6.00am when general demand is at its lowest.
Find out more about water restrictions in Queenstown Lakes District.