As Whau Valley dam is falling to a volume of 60 per cent, Whangārei District Council has brought in Level 2 water restrictions banning ban sprinklers and irrigation systems.

People across the district managed to reduce their water usage by 8 per cent since February 12 after council raised awareness about an impending water shortage.

WDC spokesperson Ann Midson said residents had come on board with council's water-saving efforts and voluntarily reduced their water use before the restrictions came into effect yesterday.

"We are aiming to reduce the water usage further to 20 per cent," Midson said.


She said unless the district got some rain in the coming weeks, council would have to look at more restrictions.

Minor rain over the weekend had made next to no difference to the ongoing drought, providing little relief to waterways and dams.

Water St recorded the most rainfall with 11.8mm, followed by Onerahi Airport with 7.8mm.

While most automated sprinklers and irrigation systems are now banned, some clubs are still allowed to water their facilities following ideas of the Australian Leisure Management scheme.

The hockey turfs are being watered for health and safety reasons. Photo / Supplied
The hockey turfs are being watered for health and safety reasons. Photo / Supplied

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Sue Hodge, WDC's parks and recreation manager, said, councils needed to strike a fine balance between providing a water supply and also preserving assets that are vital to community well-being.

"The [Australian Leisure Management] article explains how community amenities (private and public) provide opportunities for togetherness, support and recreation within the community during times of hardship and stress. Ensuring these entities survive to provide gathering places during events like this drought, and go on to survive into the future has to be a priority too," Hodge explained.

Some bowling clubs in the district may struggle if watering were to completely stop as the costs for them to reinstate turf later may be out of reach. Some may even fold completely if they were to lose their turf.


"As a result, we are working one-to-one with groups to help them make the best of the limited water they do use, and we have found them all to be very open-minded and supportive of our efforts," Hodge said.

Northland Hockey is among the groups who are still watering its fields while having reduced their water usage by 60 per cent.

"We have to water our turfs for safety reasons. The less water on the ground, the higher the risk of injuries," Northland Hockey CEO Grant McLeod said.

He said the club was letting several teams practice on one turf rather than two to reduce the amount of surface being used.

"Generally, we also recycle a lot of water, but we weren't able to replenish any rainwater recently."

He said if the drought was ongoing and watering the turfs was no longer an option, the club had to decide whether or not they would let their players go on dry turfs.

WDC is watering 18 sports fields three times a fortnight, plus Cobham Oval until the first-class games are over in March along with cricket wickets at Kamo and Kensington Park.

More frequent watering is required on two new league fields at Otaika Sports Park so they will be in play this season as well as No 1 and No 10 fields at Tikipunga that are under redevelopment.