Fifty shades of brown

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Browned off . . . Victoria Park near Rangiora's town centre, shows signs of stress. Waimakariri District Council's watering policy will see many public spaces burn off over the summer. PHOTO: DAVID HILL

 

By DAVID HILL

Summer is fast turning tracts of green open spaces in Waimakariri brown, but the council is not about to fire up its sprinklers.

The council has clarified its watering policy through the summer, as temperatures rise.

A spokesperson says the council does not irrigate berms or neighbourhood parks throughout the district, consistent with most local authorities in New Zealand.

“The reason is that the watering of berms and neighbourhood reserves is expensive, due to the ongoing cost of infrastructure,” the spokesperson says.

“If the council was going to change its levels of watering service, it would have a direct effect on rates.”

The council does water sports fields, annual beds and juvenile trees.

“Sports fields are watered to ensure sufficient grass growth to allow safe play, annual beds and juvenile trees are watered to ensure survival through the summer period.

“Grass can appear very dry and even dead looking, but it is still alive and does recover in the autumn.”

When new subdivisions are developed, the developer often installs an irrigation system to make the landscaping more attractive to assist with the promotion and sale of properties.

“When the land is vested to the council, the irrigation systems are either taken from the ground or decommissioned.”

Water is a valuable resource, which can become scarce in North Canterbury during the summer months.

“In recent months there has been little rain and this may continue, so the council needs to make sure it prioritises water usage and is conservative to ensure no negative environmental effects are caused by unnecessary water usage.”

If residents want to have a green berm, they can use their own water system.

It is advisable not to water during the heat of the day as this will increase evaporation and residents should be mindful of conserving water.