The Invercargill City Council will impose water restrictions from this Saturday 18 February.
Flow in the Ōreti River, where Invercargill draws water from, continues to languish despite recent rain.
Invercargill City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said as there was no rain forecast, it was anticipated that the flow would continue to reduce.
Although some rain has fallen, it had not extended into the Ōreti catchment and this had resulted in low flows in the Ōreti River, she said.
“We’ve made the decision to apply our first level water restriction, which prohibits all domestic unattended hosing and sprinkler use, and that will take effect from Saturday 18 February.”
This means hand-held watering of gardens and no sprinkler use.
Under Council’s permit to draw water there was a condition set by Environment Southland to apply water conservation measures according to the river’s flow.
The first trigger for conservation measures is when the flow falls to, or below 4 cubic metres per second.
As of Wednesday 14 February, the Ōreti River flow at Wallacetown was at 4.49 cubic metres per second, falling from 4.77 cubic meters per second on Tuesday 14 February.
Moogan said the second trigger point is set at 3.2 cubic metres per second and activates the prohibition of all domestic outside use of water, such as washing cars and watering gardens.
“The second trigger can be quite soon after the first so people should be prepared.”
It is important that Council follows the measures set by Environment Southland in order to protect the Ōreti River system, she said.
Council teams across the organisation were reducing water use, with Parks staff turning off the fountains and the water play area at Queens Park. Turf irrigation at Rugby Park and Surrey Park will continue but will be carefully monitored and minimised where possible, Moogan said.
Council recognises that outdoor water usage is critical to many businesses across the city. While it is only domestic water usage that is restricted we appreciate our business community putting in place measures to conserve water wherever possible, she said.