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Water rationing on the Waimea Plains starts 11 December

December 6th, 2017

Tasman District Council's Dry Weather Taskforce Convenor, Dennis Bush-King, said that Stage One water restrictions for users on the Waimea Plains will come into force from Monday, 11 December.

"At last week's first meeting the Dry Weather Task Force noted that it was likely restrictions would have to be put in place within a week."

"As predicted, the Waimea River has dropped down to trigger levels at Wairoa Gorge so we are moving to Stage 1 rationing for urban users and most other water users on the Waimea Plains. The Wai-iti zone is in the fortunate position of having a dam to augment the water supply and users in the Lower Confined Aquifer and Hope Gravel zones have another week before rationing is likely to come in," said Mr Bush-King.

"Imposing Stage One restrictions with some rain forecast over the coming weekend is in line with our approach to managing river levels. We could do with a good dose of 50mm of rain in the right place but this does not look likely. In light of this we have decided it is more prudent to go to stage one now and preserve our water for as long as possible before we have to go to more restrictive rationing."

Watering restrictions are also introduced for urban water users in Richmond, Mapua - Ruby Bay, Brightwater, Wakefield, and Hope, and their rural extensions. Only hand held hosing of gardens every second day is permitted according to your house number - ie. if you have an even house number you may water on the even number calendar dates.

Mr Bush-King said that the situation in the Upper Motueka is also getting dry and the Motupiko zone is close to having restrictions introduced. The Anatoki Salmon Farm in Golden Bay is on restrictions.

Stage One Rationing - 20% Cut

The Stage 1 rationing, meaning a cut in use by 20 percent of consented water take levels, applies in the Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Golden Hills, and the Upper Confined Aquifer zones on the Waimea Plains.

2018 Water Management Rules

From November 2018, new water rationing triggers and rules come into force for Tasman District. If there is no commitment to build the Waimea Community Dam, the "no dam scenario" rules will apply to protect the ecosystem of the Waimea River by ensuring a minimum flow of water in the river of 800 litres per second. The "no dam" rules require stricter rationing measures.

Dennis said that in a no dam scenario, Stage 3 rationing - requiring a 50% cut in water takes - would be likely to come into force for the affected zones, including urban households, as of next Wednesday.

"The trigger level for Stage 3 rationing under the no-dam rules is 2300 litres a second measured at Wairoa Gorge. We expect to be down to 2500 l/s by Monday, with flows dropping by 100 l/s daily. That would mean Stage 3 rationing would hit by next Wednesday."

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