Napier's water restrictions could be lifted altogether so long as residents continue to conserve water — just days after reservoirs reached "critically low" levels.

Meanwhile, in Hastings, water restrictions have been introduced as the hot weather dries out the region and sparks high water use.

The level two restriction means hoses and sprinklers can be used only between 6am and 8am and 7pm and 9pm every second day — at odd numbered homes on odd dates, and even numbered homes on even dates. The restrictions apply to all homes which source water from a public Hastings District Council supply.

Read more: Water restrictions for Hastings


Council is implementing its water restrictions as required by the conditions of its resource consent from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Given recent events, a secret council meeting on Napier's water supply might be discussed in public instead.

Yesterday Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said water supplies were "very rapidly getting back to normal".

Level four restrictions were put in place on Monday after residents were warned water could soon run out with the city's reservoirs critically low.

After "significant" improvement in water levels, restrictions were eased to level two on Tuesday.

The council could begin lifting restrictions altogether by the end of the week, "if people continue to conserve water like they are", Mr Dalton said.

"We're rapt with the reaction of the Napier public, and the way they responded to our request to save water. It's put us back in a good position in no time at all."

Reservoir levels were still at "healthy levels" of more than 80 per cent, council communications and marketing manager Fiona Fraser said yesterday.


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Responding to comments questioning how the reservoirs recovered so quickly, Ms Fraser said that was what level four restrictions existed to do.

"The highest level of restriction brings about the most efficient recovery, so when we got to that very, low reading, we acted quickly to bring it back into line," she said.
"We don't go to level four without very good reason."

Water will be on the agenda at today's scheduled audit and risk committee meeting, although it has been designated for a public-excluded portion of the meeting.

A local authority has the right to exclude the public under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. The reason for this exclusion was to protect staff from "improper pressure or harassment".

When asked if council would consider moving the item into public discussion given the increased public interest this week, Mr Dalton said some items had to exclude the public as they were commercially sensitive.

"But certainly once we've had that meeting we will probably move some of it into open."
Earlier this week Hawke's Bay Today asked to be allowed to attend the meeting.

However, council manager business excellence and transformation Rachael Horton said the exclusion under LGOIMA applied to all public.

This is not the first time the council has discussed water behind closed doors — in June an eleventh-hour decision was made to discuss a "water risk" update in public excluded.

■ Hastings District Council has also introduced level two water use restrictions. Yesterday the Parkhill water supply — which serviced 24 properties — was chlorinated after a positive E. Coli reading.