Compulsory water restrictions for Auckland are almost certain next month amid a severe drought that's seen the region's storage dams drop below 50 per cent.
Aucklanders have been asked to make voluntary savings for outdoor activities like watering gardens, washing cars and water blasting houses, but these measures are expected to become compulsory given the weather forecast indicating the drought will continue over the coming weeks.
Watercare has said it could introduce a second level of more severe water restrictions that would impact on businesses if dam levels drop below 40 per cent.
Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said the council-owned water company does not want to add to the demands people are facing with the Covid-19 lockdown, but the city has reached a trigger point where it must consider mandatory water restrictions.
"Since the start of the year, we've received less than half [47 per cent] the usual rainfall in our water catchment areas. So to receive yet another dry forecast is very concerning," he said.
This has seen the city's storage dams drop to 48 per cent - the first time they'd fallen below 50 per cent since the drought of 1993/1994, when storage levels got down to a frightening 36 per cent.
The figure of 48 per cent is lower than 66 per cent this time last year and the average figure of 76 per cent for this time of the year.
Jaduram said a survey of 500 Aucklanders found 97 per cent found it was important to save water now and it was time to make every drop of water count.
The survey found Aucklanders agreed everyone should be taking shorter showers after putting out the word to limit showers to four minutes.
"For most households, the shower guzzles the most water - around 27 per cent of total use.
"We know most people spend around eight minutes in the shower. If you cut back for four minutes the region will save around 80 million litres a day. That's a phenomenal amount and it only requires a little effort," Jaduram said.
Action Aucklanders can take to help is:
• Wash your hands regularly as recommended for Covid reasons
• Take short showers of four minutes or less
• Run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full