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Water rationing on the Waimea Plains moves to stage two 18 December

December 13th, 2017

From Monday (18/12) Stage 2 water restrictions for users on the Waimea Plains already on restrictions and Stage 1 for those in the Lower Confined and Hope Gravels zones will come into force, Tasman District Council's Dry Weather Taskforce Convener, Dennis Bush-King, said.

"The Waimea River has dropped down below trigger levels at Wairoa Gorge but more significantly key groundwater bores were now in decline and the river is starting to drop faster because of it. Soil moisture deficits on the Waimea Plains are at levels we normally experience in late February so a move to Stage 2 is necessary."

Restrictions in the Waimea catchment are Stage 2 (a 35% cut in consented takes) for those permit holders in Reservoir, Waimea West, Upper Confined, Upper Catchments, Delta, and Golden Hills zones and Stage 1 rationing (a 20% cut in consented takes) for those permit holders in the Lower Confined and Hope Aquifer zones.

"Water has started to be released from the Kainui Dam in the Wai-iti zone so there are no restrictions in the Wai-iti Zone," said Mr Bush-King.

When asked about the new water management rules Mr Bush-King said that under the new rules in place next year in the event there is not a Waimea Community Dam, users would be looking at a 50% cut in their allocations coming in as of Monday. "This would be on allocations that were, in most cases, less than the current allocations. The Council has undertaken a review of all permits on the Waimea Plains and has notified permit holders of the new allocations that will come into force when formal decisions are released next year."

Watering restrictions are still in place 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.

"Importantly we are now using the water shortage direction to direct that all non-consented water use in the Moutere Domestic area is restricted to domestic use ie productive gardens and household use and not for the maintenance of large lawns or washing cars and the like" said Mr Bush-King. Also no surface water takes for domestic use in the affected urban areas are permitted unless authorised by way of Resource Consent.

The Moutere Ditch is down to approximately 50 litres per second(l/s) flow and when it gets to 20 l/s there is a cease take on all the surface water takes in that area. So irrigators in this zone need to bear that in mind as Council staff believe it will be only a couple of weeks before water levels drop to 20l/s.

"The small amount of rain we have received in parts of the district recently has not provided any relief and the forecast looking forward is not helpful.

Mr Bush-King understands there is a 4 to 5 day waiting list for water tank refills so the dry conditions are starting to bite. He said staff are still watching the Motupiko and Rainey Rivers and the Anatoki Salmon Farm remains on restrictions.

Mr Bush-King said any effort to conserve water as we move into summer is a good thing. Council staff will be monitoring the situation to ensure compliance with consent conditions and the Water Shortage Direction.

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