Wellington moves to Level 2 water restrictions – what's now banned

Wellingtonians can still water their gardens, but their hand must be on the hose at all times.
Wellingtonians can still water their gardens, but their hand must be on the hose at all times. Photo credit: Getty Images

Water restrictions across the Wellington region started on Wednesday morning.   

Wellington City, Porirua City, Hutt City, and Upper Hutt City entered level two water restrictions at 12:01am on Wednesday.   

This means all outdoor irrigation systems, soaker hoses, and unattended water systems are banned.   

Wellingtonians can still water their gardens, but their hand must be on the hose at all times.   

If people see their neighbours using their sprinklers, they can report the use to their local council.   

Outdoor water use is still allowed, people can still fill a swimming pool, but the water source must be consistently attended to.    

Council said the water restrictions have been implemented because of very high demand, which peaked at 195 million litres on Tuesday 9 January.    

Without intervention, council expects this use to climb as temperatures increase and people return from summer holidays.   

While the restrictions only apply to residential properties, businesses are encouraged to reduce water use where possible.    

Work is being done to provide guidance for non-residential water users on what level three and four restrictions will look like if they are implemented.   

Level three requires the cessation of all outdoor residential water use and level four restricts all outdoor water use and to reduce indoor water use.     

Laurence Edwards, Chief Advisor Drinking Water, Network Development & Delivery, said that implementing water restrictions now will help "reduce the risk of having more severe, longer water restrictions later on".   

While brief periods of rainfall are expected, council advises "this is unlikely to help the situation".

"The increase in demand, paired with the ongoing high number of leaks is putting pressure on the network and the ability to supply enough safe drinking water to meet demand."   

Around 45 percent of the region's water is being lost to leaks.    

The top question on Wellington Water's frequently asked questions section is "How can you ask me to restrict my water use, when we're losing so much water because of leaks?"   

"Finding and fixing leaks is one of our top priorities, but with the resources available to us we can’t fix them all. We’re working on the issue, but it won’t happen overnight – and summer is almost here. The risk of a water shortage this summer and tighter water restrictions is real, and the situation may shift quickly," reads their answer.   

"To ensure there’s enough water to go around for the necessities, we need everyone to do their bit. Water restrictions help people understand how they can best save water at their place, and when to do so. If people follow the restrictions, it reduces the chance of moving to higher levels.

"Water restrictions are enforced through council bylaws. Wellington Water recommend the level of restrictions for our council owners to implement."   

Large water storage tanks have been popular, and a supplier told Newshub demand for 200-litre water tanks has been through the roof.