Aucklanders are flouting water restrictions to wash their cars and water blast their driveways despite the region facing its worst drought in history
A ban on outdoor water use, to conserve storage that is already 30 per cent below its regular level, has been breached 289 times in just five days.
Dam levels continue to fall and are now at 43.1 percent, bringing the region closer to stricter restrictions that would “seriously impact on the economy”.
Watercare spokesperson Maxine Clayton confirmed complaints about residential customers were to do with people washing cars and water blasting driveways and houses.
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“We’re urging any commercial car washing operations using recycled water to use put up signage, so the public knows. Likewise, any residents with tanks, should do the same if they plan any outside water activities.”
Clayton said alleged breaches against commercial customers involve building washing and car washing operations.
Daily water usage has been inconsistent, with Aucklanders using 426 million litres on Wednesday, 404 million litres on Sunday and 429 million litres on Saturday.
But dam levels have plummeted 1 per cent since Sunday and restrictions will step up slightly under Stage 2 restrictions, should the city’s supply fall below 40 per cent.
There are no restrictions indoors but Watercare is urging serious restraint.
This includes limiting showers to four minutes and using washing machines only for full loads.
More draconian Stage 3 measures could be months away in the worst case scenario, hitting businesses and commercial users more severely.
“Stage 3 would seriously impact on the economy – I’d like us not to be in Stage 3 at all,” Raveen Jaduram, Watercare’s chief executive, said.
That could involve big commercial water users only being able to operate four days a week.
The longest dry spell in Auckland was recorded in February with 47 consecutive days with less that 1mm of rain.