A huge community water-saving effort and the hope of some rain later this week has allowed the Tasman District Council to maintain water restrictions for the Waimea area at the same level (stage 4)  for another week.

Dry Weather Taskforce acting convenor Rob Smith said: “Communities connected to the Council water supply in Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua and Ruby Bay reduced their water use by 25% compared with the same period in previous years.  Other water users on the Waimea Plains are also mostly complying with required reductions.  This is a superb effort and has helped stave off the need for greater restrictions for now,” Rob said.

“Salinity levels in our bores haven’t increased and river levels are reasonably stable so the community water conservation effort, combined with the measures we’ve taken to protect our water sources, is paying off.”

Stage 4 restrictions mean:

  • Outdoor water use ban for residents and businesses connected to the reticulated water network in Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua, Ruby Bay and their rural extensions. The exceptions are watering fruit/veges with a bucket on alternate days, firefighting, for genuine health and safety reasons.
  • A 25% usage cut for businesses connected to the reticulated network in Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua, Ruby Bay and their rural extensions.
  • A 65% cut in allocation for water permit holders

However the dry conditions will mean a change in restriction for users in the Upper Motueka and in Golden Bay with a move to Stage 3, a 50% cut in permitted takes.  Brooklyn Stream has also been brought into flow sharing.  In all other zones, restrictions remain at last week’s levels.

“There may be some rain towards the end of this week but obviously at this stage we don’t know if the forecast will eventuate and how much rain we may get. Maintaining restrictions at their current level where we can is the sensible thing to do at this stage. We can always reassess the situation early next week if we do get a decent downpour to replenish our rivers and groundwater sources,” Rob said.

In the meantime, the Council is thinking seriously about its next steps should the drought continue. A community meeting to discuss potential future restrictions for those connected to the Council supply will be held at 7pm tonight at the Richmond New Life Church in Wensley Road.

Acting Engineering Services manager Dwayne Fletcher said it was important people were aware there was potential for even harsher restrictions if the drought continues.

“We may be looking at usage cuts of 30 – 50% being imposed on businesses at the next stage of restrictions, followed by a complete ban on all water use except for essential human health, sanitation, firefighting, animal welfare, medical, and food retail purposes if we reach Stage 6. Come along to the meeting and have some input because this is a significant decision we’re going to have to make about how we continue to protect our water supply in the coming weeks.”

Full list of restrictions from Monday 11 March

Urban restrictions

Stage 4: Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua, Ruby Bay

  • Outdoor water use ban (excludes watering fruit/veges with a bucket on alternate days; firefighting; for genuine health and safety purposes)
  • 25% business use cut

Stage 3: Pohara, Collingwood and Upper Takaka

  • Watering grass and lawns is prohibited
  • Watering gardens permitted using watering cans or buckets on alternate days between 6pm and 8am.
  • Filling or topping up pools is prohibited 
  • Outdoor washing (for example, vehicles, windows, walls or driveways) is permitted with a bucket only

Stage 2: Tapawera

  • Watering grass and lawns is prohibited
  • Watering gardens is permitted on alternate days between 6pm and 8am only
  • Filling or topping up pools is prohibited
  • Outdoor washing (for example, vehicles, windows, walls or driveways) is permitted using a hose fitted with trigger nozzle or a bucket only

Rural restrictions

Water permit holders

  • Cease take (water use for essential human needs and stock drinking water only): Motupiko, Dovedale, Moutere Surface Water, Powley Creek, Rainy River
  • Stage 4 (65% cut in allocation): Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Upper Confined Aquifer and Golden Hills zones
  • Stage 3 (50% cut in allocation): Takaka, Aorere, Wangapeka, Tapawera, Glen Rae, Tadmor, Baton, and Stanley Brook zones
  • Stage 2 (35% cut in allocation): Lower Confined, Hope Gravel, Wai-iti, Wai-iti Dam Service  zones
  • Stage 1 (20% cut in allocation): Moutere Western Groundwater and Moutere Eastern Groundwater zone
  • Restrictions are also in place in the Riuwaka water management zone, Little Sydney and Brooklyn rivers.

Rural water supply schemes (Dovedale, Eighty-Eight Valley, Redwood Valley)

  • Dovedale only: Water for essential human needs and stock drinking water only
  • Outdoor water use ban (excludes watering fruit/veges with a bucket on alternate days; firefighting; for genuine health and safety purposes)
  • 25% business use cut

Private wells and river takes for domestic use

All areas except the Motueka Plains and the Buller

  • No watering lawns
  • No watering ornamental gardens
  • Urgent water conservation required