The Wellington region has moved to level 2 water restrictions, which means that no residential sprinklers or irrigation systems can be used. However, commercial use is still permitted at level 2, providing appropriate care is taken.
Our Parks, Sport and Recreation team manages 58 sites across the city that rely on these systems to keep them in good nick for Wellingtonians to use.
After dealing with drought conditions over the years, the team are prepared to adjust to the restrictions as they increase by shortening the frequency of watering these green spaces, which includes 18 irrigated lawn areas, 21 irrigated sports fields, 17 clay cricket blocks, 2 croquet greens and a golf course. There are also rain sensors on selected irrigation controllers which will override and stop automatic watering if it is raining.
As restrictions increase, the number of days that watering will occur will be limited and only use the amount of water necessary to keep the grass alive and usable, says Sports fields Team Manager Gus Anderson.
“If we stopped watering our sports fields, all traditional sports would be impacted with limited availability of safe playing surfaces for the summer and winter seasons. Work to replace the grass wouldn’t start until restrictions are lifted and weather conditions are right to carry out renovations.”
Wellington City Council Operations Manager William Melville says that it’s a fine line between restricting water use and preserving the grass at sports fields and event spaces so they can still be used across summer and into winter.
“We can’t simply turn off irrigation, because if the grass dies we’d be staring down the barrel of a hefty renovation fee to remove the dead grass, reseed, water, and fertilise the space for regeneration. That’s over $1,000,000 worth of renovation.”