By Dave Goosselink
Summer is still a few months away but residents in Christchurch are already being asked to conserve water.
Many of the city's wells and reservoirs were damaged in the earthquakes, forcing water restrictions to be introduced for the first time in 13 years.
From today until February, sprinklers and irrigation systems are banned across the city and garden hoses are on notice.
The restrictions are due to the damaged water system which is under pressure as the weather warms up.
Christchurch City Council’s waster and water manager Mark Christison says coming into October, and moving into the nor’wester season, the water demand in Canterbury “shoots up”.
Twenty wells which pump water up from aquifers were destroyed in February’s quake and another 80 badly damaged.
New wells are being drilled around the city but supply will not cope with demand, which can triple in the summer.
“The infrastructure just won't handle that level of demand, until we get more wells online and we get the reservoirs and other elements fixed,” says Mr Christison.
The city's largest reservoir in Huntsbury is being extensively rebuilt after suffering major cracks.
Work will not be completed until Christmas, meaning conservation needs to start now.
“Residents are still allowed to water their gardens and wash their cars but on every second day of the week, depending on their street address.”
It is a minor sacrifice most are comfortable with.
Halswell resident Megan Himsel says there is always someone worse off.
The council's confident residents in the Garden City will obey the restrictions and prevent a total outdoor water ban this summer.