Photo: The current low levels at the Kaipatangata Stream.

12 January 2021

Carterton District Council is appealing to residents to urgently conserve water in the coming days and avoid unnecessary water use during peak times in order to prevent harsh restrictions.

The Kaipatangata Stream is the main water source for Carterton’s urban residents and is reliant on rainfall. When there are prolonged periods of no rain, the stream dries up and goes underground, leaving no water. When this happens, the water supply is reliant on two bores, but there is limited storage capacity. When everyone uses water at the same time, it uses all the water that the bores can produce – it’s like continuously filling a glass with a trickling tap but it all gets emptied at once. This is why the council has asked Carterton residents to restrict water between 6.30am – 10.30am and 5.30pm – 7.30pm.

“We really wanted to try something a bit different this summer to avoid going to a total water ban like last summer,” said Infrastructure, Services and Regulatory Manager, Dave Gittings.

“Instead of imposing harsh restrictions on hoses and sprinklers, we have asked people to avoid unnecessary water use during peak times, but we really need buy-in from the whole community to make it work.


“Our water usage over the last two weeks when it has been hot and dry shows we are still using too much water during peak times. This empties out the limited storage at the bores, and we are far exceeding our capacity of 2500 cubic metres per day.

“If we can’t urgently reduce our water use, we will have no choice but to impose a harsh restriction like the other councils have.”

In the last 12 days, Carterton’s urban residents have exceeded the bores’ capacity 10 times. This not only hinders the council’s ability to supply drinking water, but seriously compromises the district’s firefighting abilities. The council’s water usage data also shows that the majority of this is being used between 8am – 10.30am and 5.30pm – 7.30pm. The council is currently working to install additional short-term storage to help manage the peak use periods, but until that’s in place we have to keep our collective use under the threshold.

“We know these are the times of the day when people do habitual things such as putting on the dishwasher or the washing machine, but there are simple steps people can take to conserve water and stagger their usage throughout the day,” Gittings said.

Conservation tips include putting a load of washing on before bed and hanging it out in the morning, watering your garden during after dusk, ensuring your dishwasher and washing machine are full before turning them on, and using delayed start timers on appliances.

To read more about water conservation or to look at Carterton’s water usage charts, click here.