Continued dry weather and falling well levels have forced the Gore District Council to put level 2 water restrictions in place for Gore this week.
Level 2 restrictions mean hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems are only allowed to be used on alternate days between 7pm and 9pm.
Three Waters asset manager Matt Bayliss said rainfall earlier this month provided some relief. However, it was not enough to have any significant impact on well levels.
Cooper’s Well, the main well feeding Gore’s water supply, was about 35% lower than normal as a result of the dry winter and spring, he said.
“The well doesn’t usually get this low until late January or February – in fact, it has been below normal levels since July.”
The level of the Mataura River had the biggest impact on the well. Unfortunately, no sustained periods of high river levels combined with low rainfall had significantly impacted on the well, he said.
“Ideally, we want lots of rain in the headwaters of the Mataura and for the good weather to continue in Gore.”
In October, Gore recorded only 47mm of rain, compared with a monthly average of 104mm over the four previous years, Mr Bayliss said.
This had resulted in the Mataura River being 46% lower for this time of the year than the five-yearly average.
Mr Bayliss said leak detection work by the council was having an impact on water usage in Gore.
But residents still needed to be conscious of how much water they used.
Council staff would be doing their bit to conserve water by not cleaning fleet vehicles, he said.
At this stage, there were no restrictions on commercial or business users, but they were encouraged to conserve water wherever possible.
In some cases there were specific requirements for individual commercial users, such as car wash services.
Gore resident and keen gardener Verna Wilson said there was no need to water gardens each day.
Good soil preparation was the key to being able to be sparing with water, Mrs Wilson said.
She watered every second day, night and morning.
She used a sweeping motion when hosing the garden as it covered the area quickly and also saved water.
It only took her 10 to 15 minutes to water her garden.
The Gore District Council has four levels of water restrictions:
Level 1: A public notice is issued warning people they need to conserve water.
Level 2: Use of hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems allowed only on alternate days between 7pm and 9pm (even street numbers on even dates).
Level 3: Total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers and garden irrigation systems. Handheld hoses can be used only between 7pm and 9pm on alternate days.
Level 4: Total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and handheld hoses. Car washing by handheld hose prohibited.