News | 11 January 2024
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Wellington metropolitan region moving to Level 2 Water Restrictions

Wellington City, Porirua City, Hutt City, and Upper Hutt City will move to Level 2 Water Restrictions at 12.01am on Wednesday 17 January, meaning a ban on sprinklers and irrigation systems for residential households.

Water pouring from a hose.

The ban applies to all irrigation systems, soaker hoses, and unattended watering systems. Residents can still water their garden by hand (e.g. a garden hose) at any time, on any day, so long as this is not left unattended.

This decision has been made due to very high demand, peaking at 195 million litres on Tuesday 9 January. We expect demand to increase further in the coming weeks without intervention, with temperatures increasing and more people returning from their holidays elsewhere (demand historically increases significantly following Wellington Anniversary weekend).  There are some brief periods of rainfall on the weather forecast but this is unlikely to help the situation.

The region’s water treatment plants can only treat and supply a certain amount of safe drinking water on any given day. 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.

“Councils in the metropolitan region have made the decision to put in place Level 2 Water Restrictions now to help reduce water demand and reduce the risk of having more severe, longer water restrictions later on,” says Laurence Edwards, Chief Advisor Drinking Water, Network Development & Delivery.

“The restrictions apply to residential properties only. However, we do ask that businesses across the district take steps to reduce their water usage where possible. We are working with our client councils to provide guidance for non-residential customers, including on the restrictions that may apply at Level 3 and 4. If we all do our bit, then we can hopefully avoid further restrictions.

“We also want to assure residents that we are continuing to find and fix as many leaks as we can within the funding and resources we have available – our crews are out there every day working on leaks,” adds Laurence.

Wellington Water continues to closely monitor the situation and work closely with councils regarding the risk of further water restrictions this summer. We will keep the public informed if the situation changes.  

“In the meantime, we encourage everyone to make simple changes to reduce their water use. Small changes such as taking shorter showers (no more than 4 minutes), not running the tap while brushing your teeth, and only doing full loads of washing can all make a real difference.”

For more helpful water saving tips, visit Wellington Water’s water calculator.

Please note that the South Wairarapa district remains on Level 2 Water Restrictions. South Wairarapa District runs on a separate drinking water network from the metropolitan Wellington region.

Water restrictions – what they mean for residents

Level Two

  • No irrigation or sprinklers
  • Water your garden by hand only at any time so long as it’s not unattended

Level Three

  • Stop all outdoor water use
  • Consider using less water indoors
  • Businesses encouraged to be pragmatic and responsible

Level Four

  • Significantly reduce indoor water use - by up to 50% - to ensure there is enough water for everyone
  • Stop all outdoor water use
  • Business to also significantly reduce water use