Tauranga leaders have imposed water restrictions on the city for the first time in 17 years.
The restrictions will come into effect across the city from 9am tomorrow until further notice.
Tauranga City Council has put a total ban on using residential sprinklers and hosing down hard surfaces such as driveways and paths.
People can water their gardens by hand using a hose or watering can only between 5am and 8am, and 7pm and 10pm.
It will be the first time restrictions have been used to conserve the city's water supply since Tauranga City Council introduced water meters in 1999.
In a meeting today, council infrastructure manager Christine Jones said the council was seeing "unprecedented demand" - about 25 per cent ahead of where it normally would be.
Jones said council staff believed the increased demand was mostly down to people using more water to tend their gardens and lawns or to clean their homes in the hot weather.
The council was also talking to high water users including the Port of Tauranga and the maintenance staff for the council's sports fields, as well as businesses who use the city supply for dust suppression.
The details of the restrictions and how they will impact residents were not discussed in the meeting, but Jones said official council communications would be released this afternoon.
According to the Metservice website, Tauranga has had no measurable rain in the last two weeks. The last rainfall was on December 1.
Last week the Bay of Plenty Times reported the city was using as much water as it normally would in peak summer.
Tauranga City Council city waters manager Steve Burton said despite it only being the start of summer, the early onset of hot and dry weather and growing population meant water supply was under increasing pressure.
"These restrictions aim to reduce water consumption so that we can delay, or avoid altogether, the need for more stringent restrictions later.
"Over the past two weeks, the city's water use has increased by more than 10 per cent from about 46 to 51 million litres, and is up by about 10 million litres from the same time last year.
"While it is tempting to turn on the sprinklers and rush to fill up our pools, it is essential we all play our part to conserve water now so we will all be better off in the long run."
Burton added that planning for a new water supply was underway.
The Waiari Water Supply Scheme was designed to help meet the future water supply needs of Tauranga and the wider Western Bay of Plenty. Construction would start in 2018 and was expected to be completed in 2021.
To report water leaks or breaches of water restrictions, phone 577 7000.
Tauranga City Council suggestions for using less water:
- Check for leaks and fix any leaking taps, pipes or cisterns.
- Make sure the dishwasher is full before you use it.
- Scrape dirty dishes rather than rinsing.
- Don't wash the dishes or scrub vegetables with the water running. Put the plug in and run some water into the sink.
- Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers. A quick shower uses less than quarter of the water used in a bath.
- Only fill the tub with as much water as is required. You don't need as much in your tub for babies or pets.
- Water early morning or in the evening. Watering in the heat of the day results in a lot of water loss through evaporation.
- Water the highest parts of the garden first: any run off will go to the lower dry areas.
- Mulch, mulch, mulch! It can prevent up to 75 per cent of evaporation loss, prevents run off and keeps the soil cool.
- Dig a small trench around trees to help retain water.
- Turn the hose off when moving around your property.
- Dig the soil – well-turned aerated soil will absorb water easily.
- Install covers on pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
- Use a bucket to wash your car rather than a hose.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paths.
Source: TCC website