The Napier City Council has issued a notice of water restrictions as it tries to avert a shortage after a sharp increase in usage during the 30C temperatures earlier this week.

After a wetter-than-normal December, almost 40 million litres were used on Wednesday, hitting 75 per cent of the city's maximum production for the first time this summer.

On Friday a council media release said the city would move to "Level 2" restrictions on Monday.

It means sprinklers and hoses should be used on alternate days and for no more than two hours in the mornings and two in the evenings — between 6am and 8am, and between 7pm and 9pm.


The alternate days limit allows for watering of even-numbered properties only on even-numbered dates, and odd-numbered properties on the odd-numbered days.

It's still short of the "Level 4" restrictions of December 2017 when a dramatic increase in weekend use saw reservoir levels drop to less than one-fifth of capacity, banning hosing and limiting garden watering to bucket and watering cans.

Water use in Napier on Wednesday was close to double the daily use just before Christmas.

It climbed steadily from the 22.786 million litres used on Christmas Day to the 39.504 million litres on Wednesday, when the maximum temperature in Napier was 31.8C.

The Napier council moves to restrictions when demand is likely to be exceeding the supply or when minimum storage is likely to be not maintained.

Level 2 restrictions are imposed when daily demand is 70-80 per cent of production capacity for three consecutive days.

The council said it was doing its bit, moving to automated early-morning watering of most street garden beds and council gardens.

Parks and reserves are on a reduced water regime, although sportsground watering has to be carefully managed, as if they become too dry they become unusable.


Rainfall more than double the December average totals has, however, contributed to one of the greenest months of January in Hawke's Bay, and extra work for council staff and contractors embarking on what council chief executive Wayne Jack said was a "huge" mowing programme to cut-back the growth on parks and reserves across the city.

With temperatures for the weekend again forecast to hit the 30s — with a peak of 32C in Hastings on Sunday — the extra growth is a looming worry for firefighters.

A few sparks from metal work in the Pandora industrial district was all it took on Friday to start one fire.

Called at 10.52am, a Fire and Emergency NZ Napier crew took just a few minutes to extinguish the fire at a property off Mersey St, but a spokesman warned of the risks with drying long growth.

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