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Water rationing remains in force despite rain

December 27th, 2017

The existing water restrictions for users on Tasman's Waimea Plains will remain unchanged this week and continue at Stage 2 for the week starting 1 January as do the Stage 1 restrictions for permit holders in the Wai-iti and Wai-iti Dam Service Zones that also came into effect on Christmas Day.

Despite the fair sprinkling of rain the District got on the 26th it was not enough to remove the concern we have for water levels in the near future, Tasman Dry Weather Taskforce Convenor Dennis Bush-King said.

"River levels across Tasman spiked for a short time, but they are already on their way down. Of particular concern is the continuing low levels in our groundwater resources which without the recent rain would have seen a recommendation for stage 3 restrictions - the earliest in recent history.

"Water conservation is still a necessity and not just on the Waimea Plains. Until last night's rain the Upper Motueka, Motupiko and Moutere West water management zones were approaching their rationing trigger levels. Without rain in the next couple of weeks there is real possibility of restrictions being imposed in these areas.

The dry conditions continue to impact on beef and sheep farmers with little supplementary feed available and water tank refills are now taking up to 8-10 days.

All internal tracks on Moturoa/Rabbit Island remain closed as does the Kingsland and Tunnicliff forests due to the continuing very high fire risk.

Restrictions in the Waimea catchment are Stage 2 rationing (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, Hope Aquifer, Wai-iti and Wai-iti Dam Service zones.

Watering restrictions are still in place for urban water users in Richmond, Mapua - Ruby Bay, Brightwater, Wakefield, and Hope, and their rural extensions, which include Best Island and Redwood Valley. Only hand held hosing of gardens every second day is permitted according to your house number - if you have an even house number you may water on the even number calendar dates. Similar requirements apply to non-consented water use in the Moutere Domestic area and no surface water takes for domestic use in the affected urban areas are permitted unless authorised by way of Resource Consent.

"Any effort to conserve water is to be encouraged. Council staff will be monitoring the situation to ensure compliance with consent conditions and the Water Shortage Direction."

Mr Bush-King said under the new planning rules that will come into effect if there is no Waimea Dam, permit holders would have been at 50% cut for the last two weeks but at much reduced allocations. "This underscores the pressure the Waimea water resource is under especially when these dry conditions occur."

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