Water restrictions for the Waimea Plains will come into force on Monday as dry weather and persistent winds continue to impact on the district’s river flows, soil moisture levels and aquifers.
Tasman District Council’s Dry Weather Taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King says that even though rain is predicted for Friday, river and groundwater conditions will have reached the point where rationing should commence.
“The rain we had over the last three weeks just held the Waimea River above the rationing trigger but groundwater levels are low for this time of the year. Irrigation demand is not high and night-time temperatures have been acceptably cool, so this has been helpful up until now.
“These conditions could change very rapidly though and we have to be prepared for the predicted long hot El Nino summer.”
Dennis says that growers need to think about what measures should be adopted if conditions dry up before Christmas. Soil moisture on the Waimea Plains is low and rainfall is about 40 per cent of what would be expected on average.
Restrictions in the Waimea catchment are Stage 1 rationing (a 20 per cent cut in consented takes) for those permit holders in Reservoir, Waimea West, Upper Confined, Upper Catchments, Delta and Golden Hills zones.
Richmond, Mapua–Ruby Bay, Hope, and Brightwater residents and their rural extensions are also under restriction. Handheld hosing only to water productive gardens can occur on odd and even days corresponding to the house street number.