The Tasman District Council has granted urgent powers to staff to impose further water restrictions on properties connected to the Council’s reticulated supply, amid growing concern a severe drought is likely.

The Council has delegated powers to impose further restrictions to the Engineering Services Manager to allow staff to respond quickly as dry conditions worsen.

There is no significant rain forecast for the next few weeks, and river and groundwater levels continue to drop.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the Council was planning for the worst, and could look to physically limit the water supply to individual homes and businesses by installing meter restrictors within the next few weeks if conditions did not improve.

“That’s a severe imposition on our community but the reality is we are in a serious water supply situation and we may be forced to take quite drastic action. People can help by conserving as much water as possible now to make the remaining water last longer – and hopefully delay the more serious restrictions.

“There is a total hosing ban in place so if people want to water gardens they will need to collect water from other household tasks, such as showers, to use on the garden. There are a lot of simple things you can do to conserve water – please take a look on our website for ideas and do your bit to help keep the taps flowing.”

Water consent holders in most of the Waimea Plains, which includes farmers and the Council itself as a supplier of water to urban communities and rural extensions, are currently under Stage 3 rationing and must cut their water take by 50%.

Richard said rationing is imposed on all consent holders, including the Council itself, to share the burden of water saving across both the rural and urban communities.

“The pain is spread as fairly as we can make it across the entire community. Everyone has to sacrifice a bit to preserve our dwindling water supplies and try to eke out what we have left for as long as possible – because at the moment it doesn’t look like a good dose of rain is going to help us any time soon.”

Richard said it was great to see most people had taken the conservation message seriously and were complying with the current restrictions. “Demand has dropped in most communities so most people are trying to reduce their usage – thank you. It’s a good start but more is needed. Please think carefully about every drop of water you use and never let water flow down the drain that could be used in another way.”