Gisborne city's water shortage problem deepened today as the District Council moved to a higher water alert and banned the use of domestic sprinklers.

Water levels in the Mangapoike dams are lower than they have been at this time of year for 15 years and now half the water flowing out of taps comes from the emergency back-up source, the Waipaoa River.

Niwa's long-term weather forecast predicts dry conditions in the district over the next three months.

Council water team leader Marcus Koll said the council viewed the situation very seriously.


"City water consumption has been high since December, particularly when it comes to garden watering," Mr Koll said.

Continued high water demand in dry conditions has pushed the council to move to "water alert level 3" from today.

"Alert level 3 means there is now a total ban on all domestic sprinkler use."

There is also a restriction on non-essential outdoor water use and sprinklers for commercial and non-residential properties.

"There are no other water restrictions on industrial users at this stage, however we have contacted the top 20 industrial water users individually.They have been asked to advise staff to use water sensibly wherever they can."

- The Gisborne Herald