Auckland water shortage: Household hose ban lifts after six months

Aucklanders can finally crack out the hose, wash the car and water the garden for the first time in six months.

Restrictions put in place to plug the city's plunging water levels have paid off.

Kings Plant Barn has had its shelves raided for handheld hose nozzles over the weekend after the ban was lifted.

They're frantically restocking. 

"We're already putting in some big orders at the moment, we'd expect there to be huge demand," Kings Plant Barn Branch Manager Alisdair Hunt said.

"For gardening - being able to water is a big part of it, for vegetable gardens and flower gardens."

But you can't turn the sprinklers on in the drought-stricken Super City just yet. 

"They have to use a handheld hose so they're in control of it," WaterCare Acting CEO Marlon Bridge said.

The new mandatory rules say anything unattended is out of the question... and this is why. 

Dams that supply water to Auckland are together 72 percent full. Normally at this time of year, they're 90 percent full. 

But more water from other sources like the Waikato River is costing $224 million.

"By early January we would have created an additional 40 million litres a day into our supply, which is equivalent to a city the size of Tauranga," Bridge said.

Since restrictions began in May, Aucklanders have done a decent job of saving water but if we don't keep it up, that hard work could all be undone.

"If we have a hot summer again, we may need to reintroduce some form of restriction." 

Restrictions didn't stop some though. Watercare received 3500 complaints from neighbours dobbing each other in.  

"It's significant, I didn't expect that much, to be honest," Bridge said.

But there are promising signs of Aucklanders sticking to the more relaxed rules.