Water restrictions earlier this summer 07 December 2015 Gentle water restrictions are likely to start earlier than usual in Matatoki, Puriri, Whangamata, and Tairua, following expectations of the driest summer for decades. “The effects of the current El Nino means a dryer than normal summer season is expected for the Coromandel Peninsula,” says Lisa Murray, MetService Meteorologist, “so it would be wise to start conserving water now.” All other townships are also requested to implement water conservation practices because if conditions continue as predicted, Thames, Pauanui, Onemana, Matarangi, Coromandel, and Hahei will also be affected. Thames-Coromandel District Council Water Services Manager Ian Smith says while the Coromandel has yet to follow Hamilton, Waikato and Waipa districts, which started sprinkler bans at the beginning of December, lower ground water levels in the Coromandel and lower water flows than usual will mean restrictions are likely to start in the next week. "We will start with a ban on sprinklers, so people will have to use a hose to manually water gardens," he says, "but with the Coromandel's peak population period just three weekends away, we're encouraging early smart water use." This year, if required we will implement an intermediate restriction whereby alternate day watering will be allowed. Properties with odd street numbered addresses will be able to use a hose on odd numbered days and properties with even street numbered addresses will be able to use hose on even numbered days. That way, at worst, you only need to wait a day to use the hose again, still being mindful of the need to conserve water. There is still the likelihood that total water restrictions may have to be implemented should predicted weather patterns eventuate. “Water conservation is always important," says Mr Smith, "but this summer could bring some special challenges. Everybody can make some small changes to their water usage in the next couple of weeks that can make a massive difference across the Coromandel." Water conservation tips Fill the sink to wash vegetables and rinse dishes. Do full loads in the clothes washer and dishwater. Promote shorter showers and shallower baths. Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth. If the toilet leaks or a tap drips, fix it right away. A small, regular drip can waste hundreds of litres of water a week. For cool drinking water, fill a jug and keep it in the fridge. Running water to cool it down can waste 10 litres a minute. If you really want to conserve, when running the water to get it hot, collect it in a container, let it sit, then use it to water indoor plants or the garden. For lawns, apply the ‘step test’ – if grass springs back after you walk on it, it doesn’t need watering.