Hamilton this week used the most water ever over three consecutive days - 85 million litres a day - as the summer heatwave lingers and the city swelters.
Today the city council said residents need to cut back on outdoor water use or face further restrictions, including a complete sprinkler ban.
A council statement said water use continues to surge with more than 85 million litres of water used each day over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - a 54% rise on average consumption.
Water use figures show that up to half the water being produced at the city's only water treatment plant is not returned into the wastewater system. The council says this means it is largely being used in gardens and for outdoor purposes.
Tuesday was the day Hamilton recorded it highest ever official temperature, at 32.9C; although many residents report even higher unofficial temperatures where they live.
MetService reported highs of 30C in Hamilton on Wednesday and Thursday with a slightly lower 27C for today. But not much further relief is expected soon with the next five days all predicted to reach highs of 27C. Overnight lows should be 14C on Friday and Saturday with a drop to 12C on Sunday night.
The city council says Hamilton is not alone as other parts of the country experience record water-use figures as the heat wave continues.
Hamilton moved to Water Alert Level 2 on Tuesday which means sprinklers and watering systems can only be used on alternate days (even street numbers on even days; odd street numbers on odd days) 6-8am and 6-8pm. Hand-held hosing can still be done any time.
City waters manager Maire Porter is urging residents to stick to the city's current sprinkler restrictions, and to be smart about their non-essential water use, especially outside.
"Hamilton's levels of water use are close to triggering further restrictions. We've had a huge water increase this last week averaging more than 75 million litres a day. If this level of use increases, or continues for too long, Hamilton will need to consider moving to Water Alert 3, which means a complete sprinkler ban and hand-held hosing only."
Small changes to outdoor water use can make a big difference overall, Ms Porter says.
"If you are using a sprinkler consider using a timer to reduce the length of time and ensure you stay within the restrictions. If you don't have a timer, set an alarm to remind you to turn the sprinkler off after a certain amount of time rather than guessing how long it has been on for.
"If you're using a pop-up paddling pool this summer use a cover to prevent evaporation as well as the appropriate chemicals to keep the water fresh. These small changes can save significant amounts of water."
Ms Porter also encourages residents to report any water leaks or concerns about wasteful water use by using the Smart Water website water concern form.
For more information and water saving tips visit smartwater.org.nz
The Smart Water site has an e-newsletter to let you know when your area's alert level changes. Sign up here.
The Smart Water Starts with You! sub-regional summer campaign aims to make long-term change to how we use water and is a joint venture between Waikato District Council, Hamilton City Council, and Waipa District Council.