13 February - We still urgently need to conserve water Some of our river flows are at their lowest level since 1959 and our water restrictions will need to remain in place until river flows increase significantly. Despite the rain forecast for next week, it’s unlikely to be enough to allow us to lift current restrictions. As our stream levels drop, the volume of water we can take from some of these sources is also reduced. So we have water restrictions in place to preserve the health of the rivers and the ecosystems that live in it, as well as do our best to comply with the resource consent conditions set by the Waikato Regional Council. Preserving our district’s water supply by not using water unnecessarily is extremely important for public health and fire safety, so we continue to ask residents and visitors to be very careful with their water use and stick with the restrictions that are in place. These are the restrictions in place until further notice: Coromandel Town, Whitianga and Hahei - Total Watering Ban: This means all use of water outside the house is banned. This includes watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, boats, houses, and decks, filling paddling pools and playing under sprinklers. Matarangi and Tairua - Sprinkler Ban: A total ban on the use of all sprinkler, unattended hoses and irrigation systems. Hand-held hoses can be used on alternate days: If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses. Pauanui and Whangamata - Alternate Days: The water supply is under pressure. Hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems can only be used on alternate days. If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even-numbered days, and vice versa for odd-numbered houses. Thames and Onemana - Conserve Water: Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues. A reminder that Thames Valley has a permanent Total Watering Ban restriction and water conservation is urgently needed in Matatoki and Puriri area as water supplies are running very low. Matatoki is supplied by the Matatoki Stream and Puriri is supplied by the Apakura Stream. With the ongoing dry weather and with no significant rain forecast for at least two weeks, these streams are running very low and significant reductions in water use need to be made. We’re asking residents of Matatoki and Puriri to be very careful with their water use and abide by the permanent Total Watering Ban that is in place for all the Thames Valley rural water supplies. We would like to thank our communities for following our restrictions to date, but no matter where you are in the Coromandel, everyone has a responsibility to take care and do their bit to conserve water. We would love if everyone voluntarily complied with the restrictions, but we will be looking at further action where restrictions continue to be breached. People can be fined on conviction up to $20,000 for breaching our Water Supply Bylaw. We'll keep monitoring water use in our nine urban and two rural water supply schemes regularly and review our water restrictions daily. Any changes are posted on our website, email newsletters, our Thames-Coromandel District Council Facebook page and are reported on Coromandel More FM radio. Managing demand with supply Water use restrictions are not just a response to the high numbers of visitors we have to the Coromandel over the summer months. Restrictions are required to help us meet the specific requirements of our resource consents from Waikato Regional Council, under which we draw limited amounts of water from streams and rivers, or pump it from bores in the ground, and then treat it to make it safe to drink. Supplies for our major centres are as follows: Matarangi - Opitonui River Whitianga - Whangamaroro River Hahei - Groundwater bore Coromandel Town - Karaka Stream and Waiau Stream Pauanui – Oturu Stream and groundwater bore field Tairua – Pepe Stream and tributaries Whangamata – Groundwater bore field Thames - Kauaeranga River and Mangarehu Stream The issues we are currently experiencing with our water supply is a huge increase in demand for water from our peak visitor population, exacerbated by the hot, dry weather, which has seen our river and stream levels dramatically decrease. This means as our stream levels drop, the volume of water we can take from some these sources is also reduced to ensure we do not breach our resource consent conditions. Although demand for water is likely to drop across the district after this weekend’s events, and as the school year begins and visitors return to the cities, our supplies remain under pressure, with no significant rainfall forecast. Water Supply Bylaw A reminder to residents and visitors that our Water Supply Bylaw took effect from Thursday 19 December, which means that boat washing is not allowed when we have water restrictions in place. “Washing down a boat can use a lot of water, which is a challenge during peak summer periods when domestic water demand is high at the same time,” says Bruce Hinson, our Operations Group Manager. “Of course, we recognise its summer, but we need people to be mindful and not waste water, we don’t want to get into a situation where people are without water for essential purposes.” “Washing the boat down with a handheld hose during these times is in the same category as restrictions for using a hose to water your garden,” says Mr Hinson. “However, if it’s just flushing out the boat’s motor, that’s not a problem, as it’s considered ordinary use to keep the boat operating.” Council would prefer that people voluntarily comply with the restrictions, but we will be looking at prosecuting where restrictions continue to be breached. People can be fined on conviction up to $20,000 for breaching the bylaw. Water Conservation and Restriction Information As the water demand in our region grows, using water efficiently and reducing water wastage becomes more and more important for all of us. Water on the Coromandel Peninsula is taken out of the ground (from rivers, streams, and bores) and treated to make it safe. The amount of water Council can take from any water source is limited by resource consents. During peak holiday periods the population in our district almost triples and this puts an enormous amount of strain on our water supplies. Sometimes Council has no option but impose water restrictions to ensure people have enough water for day to day essential purposes. We want both residents and visitors to enjoy their stay in the Coromandel without the worry of any water restrictions. Hence our plea to use water efficiently and reduce wastage. What causes water shortages? Hot, dry weather increases day-to-day demand for water. Over the peak summer period the population of the Coromandel Peninsula triples as does the demand for water. When river and stream sources are low due to hot, dry weather, Why can’t Council just process more water when it’s busy? Council has multiple resource consents that allows us to take this water. The volume of water Council can take is fixed and we are unable to take more water than what is allowed by these consents.Our water reservoirs and treatment plants are designed to, within reason, handle day-to-day demands. It would be uneconomical to build or upgrade assets to be used for just a few months a year. It’s been raining, why do I still need to conserve water? The resource consents held by Council to take water still only allow us to take a finite volume of water. Rain events do not increase the volume of water we can take. Sometimes rain can cause water to be “dirtier” as it comes into the treatment plant, making the treating time longer to make the water safe for drinking, reducing the volume of safe drinking water able to be produced per day. Peak Season has just started – why do I have to conserve water now? If we let water reservoirs fall too low this early in the season, it is very difficult to refill them as demand increases. By conserving water now we have a better chance of limiting restrictions as the season progresses. What can I do to conserve water? There are a number of simple ways in which we can reduce water around the house while enjoying what the Coromandel has to offer Inside Fill the sink to wash vegetables and rinse dishes Turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load Promote shorter showers and shallower baths Use a bowl to scrub vegetables in the kitchen sink. You can pour the water on your plants. Keep water in a covered jug in the fridge. It saves running the tap to get cold water. If the toilet leaks or a tap drips, fix it right away Outside If you have to water the garden, do it in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation Use a broom instead of the hose to clean paths and driveways Check taps, pipes, and connections regularly for possible leaks If you have rainwater storage, use this supply to water your garden or when you need to wash your car or boat Holiday Habits Remind visitors and guests that water supplies are limited When washing your car, boat, trailer, jet ski etc. limit the use of your hose to a quick spray at the beginning then wash using a bucket. A running hose can waste as much as 10 litres of water a minute What are the Restrictions Council uses to manage water supply and how do they apply to me? There are four levels of control / restriction utilised by Council to manage water supply: Total watering ban: Savings are required immediately. All use of water outside the house is banned. This includes watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, houses, and decks, filling paddling pools and playing under sprinklers. Sprinkler Ban: A total ban on the use of all sprinkler, unattended hoses and irrigation systems. Hand-held hoses can be used on alternate days: If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses. Alternate Days: The water supply is under pressure. Hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems can only be used on alternate days. If your address is an even number you can use your hose on even numbered days, and vice versa for odd numbered houses. Conserve Water: Residents and holidaymakers are asked to keep using water carefully to ensure our supply continues. No Restrictions: No official restrictions on water use, but water is a precious resource. Please be mindful of water use regardless of official restrictions. How will I know what restrictions are currently in place? Check our Water Restrictions signs at the entrance to your town Check the our Council website Sign up to our email newsletter Follow Thames-Coromandel District Council Facebook page Listen to Coromandel More FM radio. We spoke with our Council's Group Operations Manager Bruce Hinson, who is responsible for our water services team. He explains the current situation we’re facing with our district’s water supply. Click here to watch. Please note, the restrictions discussed in the video have now increased in some areas.