Source: Whangarei District Council
Updated: 9/03/2020 8:15 a.m.
Whangārei residents have managed to drop weekly water use across our District by eight per cent since 12 February and the water level in Whau Valley Dam has fallen to 60 per cent.
Council introduced Level Two Restrictions (banning sprinklers and irrigation systems) last week and is working with sports clubs and organisations to ensure that assets that need water to survive can be maintained.
“We hope rain comes before we have to tighten up too much on bowling, croquet and golf greens, hockey fields, nurseries and garden centres, in the meantime we are working with them to keep water use as low as we can while still keeping plants alive,” said Water Services Manager Andrew Venmore.
Councils Parks and Recreation Manager Sue Hodge said Council’s approach reflected the need to strike a fine balance, providing a water supply but also preserving assets that are vital to community well-being.
“Privately owned community amenities like club lawns and golf courses, as well as publicly owned facilities like sportsfields provide opportunities for people to get together and enjoy a bit of support and recreation during times of hardship and stress.
“Ensuring these groups survive to provide gathering places during hard times and can then go on to survive into the future has to be a priority too.
“Applying this to our situation, some bowling clubs in the Whangarei District may struggle if watering were to completely stop as the costs for them to reinstate turf later may be out of reach. Some may even fold completely if they were to lose their turf.
“We are working one-to-one with groups to help them make the best of the limited water they do use, and we have found them all to be very open minded and supportive of our efforts,” she said.
In addition to the savings by these groups, Council is also taking concrete steps to conserve water.
The Parks and Recreation department has implemented a Drought Management Plan to cover sports fields and gardens. Watering has ceased in gardens with annual plants and hanging baskets.
Sportsfield watering has dropped to three times a fortnight. Cobham Oval will continue until the first-class games are over in March along with cricket wickets at Kamo and Kensington Park. More frequent watering is required on two new league fields at Otaika Sports Park so they will be in play this season as well as No.1 and No.10 fields under re-development at Tikipunga.
Other sports providers such as Northland Hockey and bowling clubs are making enquiries about the level of water savings they should be making. Reducing watering of the hockey turf will impact on health and safety of users with an increase in falls caused by friction from lack of water. Loss of bowling greens will have a high social and financial impact on clubs.
Consent has been applied for to use recycled treated waste water for some gardens, trees and some sports fields to get grass cover where drainage has recently been installed.
Mr Venmore said Level Three Restrictions were likely to come into force in the next fortnight or so, depending on how well people save water and how the Whau Valley Dam level responds.
“This is one of those occasions where we have to think and act like a community. If everyone does their small bit we will all be pulling in the same direction and have a much better chance of the result we all want.”
For more information on water saving tips go to