Waimea water restrictions tightened

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The continuing dry weather means the Tasman District Council is imposing further water rationing in the Waimea Catchment from this Monday.

Council’s Dry Weather Taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King says Stage 2 rationing, which is a 35 per cent cut in consented takes, will be imposed for those permit holders in Reservoir, Waimea West, Upper Confined, Delta, Upper Catchment and Golden Hills zones. Stage 1 rationing (a 20 per cent cut in consented takes) will be in force for those permit holders in the Lower Confined and Hope Aquifer zones.

There is now a ban on watering lawns in Richmond, Mapua, Ruby Bay, Hope, Brightwater and Wakefield and their rural extensions. Handheld hosing can occur on odd and even days corresponding to the house street number to water productive gardens only.

“The rain that we have had in recent times has not recharged the aquifers sufficiently,” Denis says. “The Waimea River is flowing at 2400 litres per second at the Wairoa Gorge and this flow is dropping about 100 litres a day.”

“While there has been some small amounts of rain and small rises in flow in the Wairoa River this dissipates quickly. We are concerned that the groundwater levels in the Waimea Plains are continuing to drop and this is anticipated to increase as water demand increases.”

Permit holders in the Moutere Western and Eastern zones, the Hau zone in Motueka are on a watch as groundwater levels are low for this time of the year.  Moutere Surface and Powley Creek permit holders are also advised that if dry conditions continue a cease take is likely before Christmas.

Moving to Stage 2 will adversely affect a number of growers at a time when they need water to size up fruit and this is not a move we take lightly,” Dennis says. “However, we need to act to conserve water now for what is shaping up to be a very challenging summer.”

Dennis says the move to Stage 2 rationing means council will have to juggle its urban and rural water supply systems. Those connected to the rural water supply systems of O’Connors Creek and Golden Hills and urban consumers in Brightwater will need to do as much as they can to conserve water.