Water restrictions – the rural situation

Water permit holders

Water permit holders in the Motupiko and Dovedale water zones must stop using water for anything other than essential human use and stock drinking water from Monday 25 February.

A cease take direction has been issued to these areas as a critical water shortage continues for much of Tasman District.

Dry Weather Taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King says while urban water restrictions would remain the same for another week, permit holders in several water zones as well as those on the Dovedale scheme would face greater restrictions from next week.

“There is no water left in the lower reaches of the Motupiko or Dove rivers, so they will move to a cease take,” Dennis said. That means water cannot be taken for irrigation and may only be used for human and stock health purposes.

Other areas that will face increased restrictions next week include upper Motueka upstream of Woodstock, and Golden Bay, both of which move to Stage 2 rationing – a 35% cut in allocation.

Dennis says the situation remains serious and the prospect of some rain towards the end of the week, while welcome, is unlikely to bring immediate relief.

“Everybody in our community – whether you are urban, rural, connected to the reticulated supply, with a private bore or a permit holder – needs to to think extremely carefully about every drop of water you use. Please don’t irrigate fields unless you absolutely have to. It’s cheaper to buy feed than to water a paddock at the moment, so if you don’t have a commercial crop that desperately needs water right now please think twice,” Dennis says.

 “We have had 6.6 mm of rain in the last 55 days. The previous driest 55-day period was in 2001 with 17.2mm. Soils are very dry and any water the plants are getting is coming from irrigation.  This is why rationing is hurting. If you can only apply 35% of your permitted allocation you have to be very careful as to where it goes.”

Mr Bush-King says the slowing rate of decline in river flow and the fact salt levels are stable probably shows the impact of the restrictions already in place and the temporary bund which has been constructed in the lower Waimea River.

“That’s allowing us to keep restrictions on the Waimea Plains at their current levels rather than escalating them further at this stage.”

Restrictions for permit holders in rural zones from Monday 25 February

View maps of the water management zones. Note that maps do not yet show next week's restrictions.

  • A cease take direction continues for users in the Moutere Surface Water, Powley Creek, and the Rainy River zones
  • A cease take direction is introduced for Motupiko zone and the Dovedale catchment
  • Stage 4 restrictions, a cut of 65% in permitted allocations, continue to apply in the Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Upper Confined Aquifer and Golden Hills zones
  • Stage 2 restrictions, a 35% cut in permitted allocations, continue to apply in the Lower Confined, Hope Gravel, Wangapeka, Wai-iti and Wai-iti Dam service zones
  • Stage 2 restrictions are introduced for the Tapawera, Glen Rae, Tadmor, Baton, Stanley Brook, Aorere and Takaka water management zones (those consent holders with specific conditions requiring greater restrictions in the Takaka zone must comply with their consent conditions)
  • Stage 1 restrictions, 20% cut in permitted allocations, continue to apply in the Moutere Western Groundwater and Moutere Eastern Groundwater zone.
  • Water restrictions are also in place in the Riuwaka and little Sydney water management zones.

The Council has issued 12 infringement fines for overtakes and some water users have been charged for failing to submit water meter returns on time.

Mr Bush-King says it is important for permit holders to submit their returns in a timely manner.  Information is key to monitoring demand and water availability.

”Especially in these times of critical shortage we expect the co-operation of permit holders in meeting their obligations as users of this precious resource.” 

Water sharing arrangements

In the areas subject to Stage 4 restrictions (65% cut) the Tasman District Council will allow water permit holders to form a collective and share their allocations between them.

Dennis says that will allow those with more allocated water than they currently require to help their neighbours with urgent irrigation needs.

“That allows everyone to work together to use the available water in the most efficient way possible.”

Water sharing agreements must still adhere to the overall 65% zone restriction, and can only be between permit holders in the same water management zone. Anyone wishing to take advantage of a water sharing arrangement should contact the Council. 

If you are interested in sharing water please contact Council on 5438400 or email water.sharing@tasman.govt.nz

Please include:

  • name of parties (Identify one contact person)
  • address of parties wanting to share water
  • contact phone numbers of all parties wanting to share water
  • Email contact of parties wanting to share water
  • Resource consent numbers of each water take that will be shared

Council staff will assess the request or make contact for further information if required.

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

Those connected to the rural water supply schemes remain subject the same outdoor water use ban and 25% business cut required of urban areas.

The Dovedale scheme is affected by the cease take direction, and essential human use and stock drinking water only is allowed.

Acting Engineering Services manager Dwayne Fletcher said people on the rural schemes need to consider their stock numbers.

“This drought may continue for some time yet, so you should starting considering how to manage the risk to your stock water supply should further cuts be required.”


Private water takes for domestic use

Anyone whose domestic water comes from a private take – either a bore or stream – is required to urgently conserve water in the same way as the rest of the community.

That means:

  • No watering lawns
  • No watering ornamental gardens
  • Use water sparingly

Dennis says: “No-one should be watering lawns or ornamental gardens other than with recycled grey water – a green lawn suggests that people aren’t playing fairly given the pressure our community is under at the moment.”


Water restrictions – the urban situation

Urban residents and businesses connected to the reticulated supply in Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield Mapua, Ruby Bay and their rural extensions remain on restrictions banning most outdoor water use and requiring a 25% cut in use by businesses.

These restrictions also apply to the rural water schemes of Dovedale, Eighty-Eight Valley and Redwood Valley. 

Outdoor water use is prohibited except:

  • Watering fruit/veges using a bucket/water can on alternate days
  • Firefighting
  • For genuine health and safety reasons

Acting Engineering Services manager Dwayne Fletcher says he is encouraged by the response from businesses and homeowners to the call for water conservation, but more savings are needed.

“We are still drawing too much water from our supplies.

“Most businesses have begun reducing their water use to meet the 25% cut even though many will face extra costs as a result. Don’t wait for official word to begin doing your bit – the situation is critical now and immediate action is required.

“There are lots of simple ways you can save water around the house. If you haven’t already, please check out our website for some tips – www.tasman.govt.nz/link/water-tips(external link).

“If you’d like to set a goal for your household, have a go at trying to use just 125 litres a day for each family member. Read your meter regularly to keep track. There’s info on our website about how to read your meter, and it’s a really good habit to get into so you’re aware of how much you use. Keeping an eye on your meter will help you identify leaks as well.”

Council enforcement officers will be out checking compliance with the restrictions and issuing warnings to anyone flouting the usage bans. Anyone who continues to ignore the restrictions may have a restrictor attached to their meter limiting their household or business water supply.