Sunday, 09 August 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Water supply still under pressure on Coromandel Peninsula

Low rainfall and increased demand are leading to water shortages at a level that have not been seen on the Coromandel for several years.

Thames-Coromandel District Council is pleading with locals and holidaymakers to heed the advice to conserve stocks in order to avoid the need for more extreme action with no substantial rainfall expected for several weeks.

Bruce Hinson, TCDC’s operations group manager, said he was confident that the situation could still be managed with increased communication as more people took note of the alerts that are being put out. “The next step would be to look at things like reducing the flow so people would see a drop in the water pressure coming out of their taps. But hopefully it won’t come to that. There is still more we can do on the communications front and I think as we start to reach more people, we will see a greater response,” he said.

Currently, Whitianga, Hahei, Matarangi, Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamata are already on Total Watering Ban restrictions. 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.

Coromandel Town and Onemana are on a Sprinkler Ban. This means a total ban on the use of all sprinklers, 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.

All other parts of the Coromandel are on a Conserve Water restriction, which means residents and holidaymakers are being asked to keep using water carefully to ensure supply continues.

In terms of the level of urgency, Mr Hinson said on a scale of one to 10, the situation would currently be sitting at around an eight. While a drop in demand was expected after a mass exodus of holiday home-owners over the past weekend, he said the restrictions were likely to remain in place until at least the end of January. “Ground water levels are especially low. We also know from experience that we often have a second wave of visitors coming into the area around this time, particularly when the weather is so good, so we need to expect that this will happen again,” he said.

Asked about what action could be taken in relation to people flouting the bans, Mr Hinson said he believed most people did their best to comply once they were aware. “That is often the difficult part. Naturally people are here to relax and have a holiday. They are focused on getting to the beach and enjoying themselves and rightly so. Things like water are not at the forefront of their minds and they may not be following any online channels,” he said.

TCDC has increased signage in many towns in order to target as many people as possible. Members of the public are also asked to keep up to date with current water notices by checking www.tcdc.govt.nz on a regular basis.

Meanwhile suggestions for reducing water usage include turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, using the dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load, promoting shorter showers and shallower baths, using a bowl to scrub vegetables so the water can be poured on plants and keeping water in a covered jug in the fridge to avoid running the tap.

Pictured: Thames-Coromandel District Council has increased signage in many towns on the Coromandel Peninsula to make people aware of water restrictions that are in force.

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