The ongoing dry conditions in Tasman mean that current water restrictions remain in place with new restrictions coming into areas across the district as from next Monday, 11 February.

Tasman District Council’s Dry Weather Task Force Convenor Dennis Bush-King said that current tidal cycles had helped keep salt water levels steady which was good news, but river and groundwater levels are still dropping.

“The Waimea River at Appleby has dropped another 180 l/sec this last week but because of the where the aquifer levels are at, and because salt readings are relatively good, we will hold Stage 3 restrictions for most of the Waimea Plains another week.”

“We are extending restrictions into the Upper Motueka catchment and also the Moutere Eastern Groundwater zone which will be the first time this season for these water users reflecting the dry conditions being experienced.”

Mr Bush-King said that with the prospect of more serious restrictions looming in the absence of any meaningful rain, farmers and growers will need to start thinking about what options they have as they apply an ever decreasing amount of water to their crops and land.

“I appreciate that some farmers will have to make very difficult choices especially as water is needed to size up fruit at this time.  But the Council also has to balance these needs against protecting the river and aquifers.”

The restrictions applying are:

  • A cease-take direction continues in place for users in the Moutere Surface Water and the Rainy River zones.
  • Stage 3 restrictions, a cut of 50% in permitted allocations, continue to apply in the Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Upper Confined Aquifer, and Golden Hills zones and will apply in the Motupiko Zone from Monday 11 February 2019.
  • Stage 2 restrictions, a 35% cut, continue to apply in the Lower Confined, Hope Gravels zones and will apply to the Wangapeka zone from Monday 11 February 2019
  • Stage 1 restrictions, a 20% cut in permitted allocations, continue to apply in the Tapawera, Glen rae, Wai-iti, and Wai-iti Dam Service, and Moutere Western Groundwater zones and will apply in the Baton, Stanley Brook, Woodstock, and Moutere eastern Groundwater zones  from Monday 11 February 2019.
  • Water restrictions are also in place under the terms of the consents in Takaka and Riuwaka water management zones.

Mr Bush-King said that he was pleased with conservation measures people and businesses had in place and that there was some evidence that people were reducing their demand but he called for more effort.  The Council will be stepping up efforts ensure people use water as efficiently as possible. 

A hosing prohibition is in place in Richmond, Mapua – Ruby Bay, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield and Tapawera. Similar restrictions apply in the rural water supply schemes of 88 Valley, Redwood Valley, and Dovedale. 

Washing cars and any unnecessary use of water should also not happen. 

“We have been issuing warnings about permit holders exceeding their restricted allocations and will be moving to issue infringements fines.”

Mr Bush-King said that the Council as water supply authority may also be liable if those connected to community water supplies do not play their part to help Council comply with the reduced allocations especially as restrictions become more severe.

Dennis added the Waimea Community Dam will avoid these restrictions in most years noting that those water permit holders who elect not to be shareholders over the transition period of the dam being constructed would be under restrictions of 70% reduction if the Waimea River drops to 800 l/sec at Appleby.

Once the dam is complete non shareholders will have a 50 % restrictions at 2300 l/s (unmodified flow) at the Wairoa Gorge and will be required to cease take at 2050 l/sec and will be prevented from using water until river flows return to more than 6000 Litres per second.