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TDC holds off water restrictions for another week

November 17th
[TDC press release]

Tasman District Council's Dry Weather Taskforce has met to review the water situation across the District and has deferred the introduction of water restrictions for at least another week.

Convenor Dennis Bush-King said that river and groundwater levels in the Waimea Plains continue to drop and without rain, a decision to go to Stage 1 restrictions, which is a 20 per cent cut in permitted take levels, is likely next week.

"We had a dry and sunny October and soil moisture levels in the eastern part of Tasman region are very low. The Wairoa River (which feeds the Waimea River) at the Wairoa Gorge is currently running at 2,900 litres/sec and Stage 1 restrictions kick in at 2,500 litres/sec" Mr Bush-King said.

"The Council rural water supplies at Dovedale, 88 Valley, and the Redwood Valley bore at River Road are stretched and even demand in the Richmond town supply is on the increase."

Mr Bush-King said that people can help by not using water if they don't have to and where they do, to use it wisely.

"This includes irrigating in the evening and at night when the water doesn't evaporate as fast and using water conservation measures in the home and place of work."

The Council has a three stage rationing process with Stage 1 requiring a 20 per cent reduction in the allowable take, stage 2 is 35 per cent and Stage 3 requires a cut to 50 per cent of the allowable take. Beyond Stage 3 the Council has the powers under the RMA to issue a water shortage direction to implement further cutbacks. The cutbacks are primarily to protect the water resource from damage, including the river going dry and consequent risk of seawater contaminating the valuable freshwater aquifers.

Mr Bush-King said that the low water levels have come much earlier than in previous years and there is concern that without any appreciable rain, rationing will start at a time when demand for water is on the increase.

Water permit holders are also reminded that they are required to submit their meter readings to Council on a weekly basis until the end of the irrigation season. Mr Bush-King said that even though the season has just commenced, Council staff will be following up non-compliance with several water users. Failure to submit water readings can result in Council charging permit holders for having to come and read meters.

The Dry Weather Taskforce will meet again next Tuesday to review the situation.

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