Auckland water restrictions begin, but will be costly for some

5:27 pm on 16 May 2020

Water restrictions have been introduced in Auckland in response to one of the most severe droughts in the city's history, but a property maintenance business says they will be costly and could put jobs at risk.

Auckland's rainfall during January to April was the driest four month period on record.

Auckland water suppliers Watercare says storage across all dams is at "a concerning" 44.8 per cent. Photo: Supplied/ Watercare

From today, outdoor water use is banned, and householders cannot use garden hoses and water blasters.

Commercial car washes must use recycled water, and only sports fields, paddocks and gardens with irrigation systems can be watered.

The aim of the restrictions is to save five per cent of water from households and 10 per cent from business properties.

Auckland Council has warned significant breaches of the water restrictions could be prosecuted, with a potential fine of up to $20,000.

But Murray Robertson, a director of Supercity Property Services, says over a six month period the business could lose up to $700,000, and the jobs of its 26 workers will be at risk.

The company provides domestic and commercial maintenance services, and needs water to carry out jobs like water blasting, washing buildings and moss removal.

And Robertson says waiting for recycled water could take up valuable time.

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram. Photo: Watercare

Households also need to conserve water indoors too, says Raveen Jaduram, the chief executive of Watercare, Auckland's water supplier.

"We're hoping to save water when we're not getting enough.

"Having shorter showers, making sure that we are washing clothes and dishes when the machines are full, putting the tap off when we are brushing our teeth."

Experts say the dry conditions are expected to continue through to the end of June, with no meaningful amounts of rain predicted for the region.

NIWA's principal forecasting scientist Chris Brandolino says rain could arrive later in May, but even if it does there would not be enough to relieve the drought conditions.

"Right now the jury's still out [on whether that rain will come], but even if that was to occur it's really a drop in the bucket.

"We need long episodes of moderate - at least moderate rainfall, to even begin to turn things around."

Auckland's rainfall during January to April was the driest four month period on record.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs