A water restriction is now in place in Tauranga as demand reaches upwards of 52 million litres a day - a 30 per cent rise on average consumption.
Tauranga City Council figures reveal that the city's current average water demand is up 30 per cent, compared to average water use of 40 million litres per day.
The hot weather has seen an increase in water consumption and the lack of rainfall has compounded the problem.
The council began the crackdown on residents' water use yesterday morning by putting a total ban on sprinklers in the area.
People can still water their gardens by hand-held hose or watering can, but only between 5am and 8am, and 7pm and 10pm, when temperatures are cooler.
This is the second time a water restriction has been imposed since water metering began, the council said, and it was expected to remain until further notice. Last year's water restriction lasted nearly two months.
Pāpāmoa Garden Circle club president Fern Twidle said putting her mulch down before the temperature rose really helped her plants, but her pots are have been badly affected.
Twidle said she will now be in and around the garden with her watering can to hydrate her plants.
Tauranga city waters manager Steve Burton said although the primary concern was on residential use of water in the garden, the council would be in talks with large-volume water users.
Although both the weather and the increase in population factored into high water usage, the main driver of high summer water use was people watering their gardens, he said.
Burton said if water use did not drop, a harsher restriction such as a hose ban could be necessary, or more extreme, an outdoor water use ban.
A spokesman from fertiliser manufacturer Ballance Agri-Nutrients said as a major user of water in Tauranga, the company was conscious of the need to make the best use of the resource.
He said the Mount Maunganui site had systems in place which meant almost all the supply ended up in finished products – minimising losses to less than 1 per cent.
"Water is an essential input to keep our manufacturing plant operating and meet customer and industrial demand. There are few opportunities to reduce consumption, except when we are not operating the plant."
A spokeswoman for the Port of Tauranga, identified by the council as a high-volume water user during last year's restriction period, said the port mainly relied on bore water, meaning it did not use much of the local supply.
However, the town supply was used for the drinking water supplied to visiting ships.
The high and dry temperatures in the area have also forced the Pumicelands Rural Fire Authority to place a suspension on a number of current open-air fire permits.
Steve Webb, the Pumicelands operations co-ordinator and deputy principal rural fire officer, said although applications were still being accepted, no permits would be approved until conditions changed.
Tauranga City Council is in the process of constructing the $115 million Waiāri Water Supply Scheme, scheduled to be completed at the end of 2021 to relieve pressure on the city's water supply.
Tips to save water:
- Use mulch to keep soil moist.
- Only water your garden when absolutely necessary and during cooler times of the day – early morning or late evening.
- Collect water from your shower for watering your garden.
- Let your lawn grow longer, shade will protect roots and moisture.
- Dig a small trench around trees and large plants to help retain water.
- Put the plug into the sink to wash dishes or scrub vegetables, don't leave the water running.
- Install covers on pools and spas to reduce water evaporation.
- Use a bucket to wash your car rather than a hose.
- Wash your car on the grass.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean paths.
- Fix any leaking taps, pipes or cisterns.
Source: Tauranga City Council