Auckland's water usage has dipped slightly as tough new restrictions kick in amid the region's worst drought on record.

Water supplier Watercare said yesterday's usage was down by six million litres the day before, and also 4.5 per cent on the previous Saturday.

After the driest four months of a year in Auckland's history, dam levels are sitting at 44.1 per cent - compared with a historical average for this time of year of 76.7 per cent.

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Restrictions which came into effect yesterday ban residents from washing cars or watering gardens with outdoor hoses.


Some 35 residents have already been pinged for reportedly turning on the hose and breaching the new rules.

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Rogue water users can be hit with fines up to $20,000, although Watercare has said it will opt for an education-first approach.

Watercare had earlier asked breaches to be reported or for residents to have a friendly conversation with anybody seen flouting the restrictions to remind them of the shortage of the precious resource.

You can wash your car or water your garden as long as you use a bucket or watering can rather than a hose, Watercare said.

Hoses and water blasters are banned for home or business use unless it is for a health, safety, emergency or biosecurity reason.

Sports fields, plants or paddocks must not be watered, except those which have an irrigation system fitted with soil moisture or rain sensors.