Isn't it amazing what a bit of community consideration can do?
Earlier this month, Western Bay of Plenty District Council brought in a hose ban. It was the first time they had invoked such water restrictions since 2013. This week, the council announced Te Puke's community water conservation efforts had since been so effective, its water restrictions had been lifted for hand-held hoses.
Te Puke, like Tauranga city, maintains a sprinkler ban and other Western bay areas remain on high alert as the Bay of Plenty bakes in hot, dry conditions. Rotorua is yet to implement restrictions and the council has said it was an option of consumption became too high.
It reminded me of a time where a colleague was sent to the South Island four years ago to help cover the Kaikoura earthquake.
Many of us will remember the devastation that quake wreaked on the land, and ocean floor. As a result, the area was without running water for days. My colleague eventually returned, having seen and experienced plenty. The first thing on his mind though was water. Plain, old, simple water – and having access to it.
"You wouldn't believe how much you use water, until you don't have it," he told me.
A small statement perhaps, but one that has stuck with me since. In some ways, our water usage is obvious – watering the garden, having a shower, doing the dishes. In other ways, less so. We still need water to brush our teeth, wash our hands in the kitchen, flush the toilet or even to cook dinner.
I believe many of us would find ourselves just as stunned as my colleague if they were forced to go without for a few days. But such potential threats appear to fall on deaf ears, for some.
I regularly see some properties during my trips to and from work where people with sprinklers are blatantly ignoring water restrictions. By comparison, there are others where parched gardens appear to have given up.
Kiri Gillespie: Don't hate on parents for poor student attendance
Kiri Gillespie: Tighter rein on vaping needed
In times of limited resources, we all need to work together and reconsider our water usage – especially so as the region's population continues to balloon. Between 2013 and 2018 the region's population grew to 15.2 per cent to 308,499 – the second-fastest-growing region in New Zealand.
In Tauranga, the local council is still playing catch-up but works - such as the Waiāri Water Supply Scheme - are in progress. While they are, we each have an obligation to do our part as well. If the council can do its bit, surely we can too.
I applaud those Te Puke residents for being an example for the rest of us.
I only hope those who have ignored the restrictions so far take heed. Their actions could affect all of us.