We know how dry it gets in Ashburton. And this year it is set to be worse than usual with NIWA predicting low seasonal rainfall in Canterbury and Otago.
This year, Ashburton District Council made the decision to not have water restrictions in Ashburton Township. This was to allow for the collection of accurate data on summer water usage and to determine the effectiveness of SMART Watering, an Irrigation New Zealand education programme.
Unfortunately, the level of water consumption has meant that this trial may be abandoned.
On a typical summer day, Ashburton Township's consumption is 18,000 cubic metres, but it is currently 22,000 cubic metres. Mayor Angus McKay says, "This increased use means we are looking at reversing the no restrictions decision – something we didn't want to do."
Council is monitoring the situation and if consumption reduces, there is the opportunity to continue with no restrictions in Ashburton Township.
To assist the community to use water wisely, Council has teamed up with Irrigation NZ, other councils and industry partners to launch the SMART Watering campaign. SMART stands for Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible and Trusted.
SMART Watering was launched last week, offering information about how to make the most of our water this summer. The campaign includes advice on how much water your garden needs, how to retain moisture in the garden, and how to water effectively. Simple things like what you plant, how it's shaded and the mulch you use can also make a big difference to water use and evaporation.
"The SMART Watering campaign is about communities coming together to make the best use of one of our most precious natural resources." Mayor Angus McKay says, "Together, it's for everyone to do their bit to make the best of every drop."