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Source: Whangarei District Council

This page contains a news story about a new approach to tree and field maintenance during the 2020 Drought.

Updated: 10/03/2020 10:41 a.m.

Whangarei District’s residents have been saving shower and dish water to use on their gardens, and now Council’s Parks and Recreation team will be doing that too, and on a grander scale.

Treated effluent from the City’s main wastewater treatment plant can now be used to water trees, sports fields under renovation and garden beds when water restrictions are in place.

Parks and Recreation manager Sue Hodge said a consent, granted by the Northland Regional Council in consultation with the District Health Board, set up a permanent system that could be used during water restrictions now and in future years without having to apply for new consents.

“Even though we have had a little rain, the ground is still extremely dry.  Many of our trees have taken decades to grow, and they really need deep watering.

“We also make a big investment in fields every year. They  are very important to the community, especially with the winter sports season coming up and we want to look after them as well as we can.

“The Consent’s rules are very strict to ensure the water is low on bacteria, has been ultra violet treated to kill bacteria and is dosed with chlorine as an extra safety measure. We expect that it will smell, compared to fresh, potable water, so there are restrictions around its use to ensure that odour is managed along with health and environmental protection.  We will be closing the fields after each watering until the ground is dry, as an extra precautionary measure.

“It seemed logical to use some of the water which goes through multiple treatment processes at the treatment plant and goes into the wetlands every day.  Using a bit of it to water our fields, trees and gardens will make no difference to the ecology of the wetlands, but will make a big difference to the District’s fields, trees and gardens.

“The team has already dropped watering hanging baskets and gardens. Sportsfield watering had dropped to two times a fortnight. Watering at Cobham Oval was to 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 redevelopment at Tikipunga. This new measure will enable us to continue watering our fields more often, using wastewater taken from the waste water treatment plant in tankers.

“There is a long list of conditions we are required to comply with to ensure everything is safe for the public and for the environment, and there will be lots of monitoring and reporting, to ensure we do this the right way.”