Auckland's dams nearly refilled after record low levels last year

What a difference a year can make. After recording record low levels, six of Auckland's 10 dams are full and the remaining four are over the 80 percent mark.

And Aucklanders who've been conserving water for more than a year could be in for an easing of restrictions.

The once-cracked banks of Auckland dams are now submerged by tens of billions of litres of water. There are no signs of last year's once-in-a-generation drought.

"It has been a long time since Auckland had a string of weeks of above-average rainfall and that is in fact what we've had," says NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll.

NIWA says the tail end of a wet winter and the floods which devastated west Auckland in August did at least have an upside.

This time last year the dam levels sat at around 60 percent - 30 billion litres short of the 90 percent mark normal for the time of year. Today, they're collectively at 88.8 percent. And of Auckland's 10 dams, six are already at 100 percent.

It's welcome news after more than a year of water restrictions.

"Great! I've stopped washing my hair," one person says.

Auckland has been at stage one of water restrictions, for the most part it's business as usual. You can use a hose or water blaster with a trigger nozzle but sprinklers and home irrigation systems are not allowed. Companies installing them have been hit hard.

"The business is suffering because of water restrictions and level 3 restrictions," says Think Water owner Claudia Knarston.

In order for Auckland Council to ease restrictions they need a formal green light from Watercare.

Newshub made several attempts to speak with Watercare which refused to be interviewed.

But Knarston says regular dam levels won't necessarily mean a return to normality.

"Our population is increasing, our dams aren't."

But people are optimistic - they've had a surge in new orders for water-conserving irrigation systems.

"Hopefully they will because I have a garden and I like to use the water," one person says.

And it's looking likely they will.

"We are expecting Auckland to have near-normal rainfall from October-December which is good news," Noll says.

Good news for the dams and all who depend on them.