The need to conserve water is becoming more important everyday with wind, consistent high temperatures and increasing demand causing river and groundwater levels to drop across Tasman.

Dry Weather Taskforce Convener Dennis Bush-King said that with no meaningful rain relief expected, water restrictions will be extended from Monday 28 January.

Stage 2 Restrictions, a cut of 35% in permitted allocations, will apply in the in the Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Golden Hills, and the Upper Confined Aquifer zones on the Waimea Plains

"Stage 1 restrictions, a 20% cut, will apply in the Lower Confined, Hope Gravels, Motupiko, and Moutere Western Groundwater zones and water users taking directly from the Moutere River will have to cease pumping.  Some consent holders in Takaka are operating under restrictions and if it wasn't for continuing releases from the Cobb Dam more consent holders would be affected. It is likely that Riuwaka water users will commence flow sharing next week as well."

Groundwater levels in the Arthur Marble Aquifer in Takaka that feeds Te Waikoropupu Springs are getting low and the flow in the Te Waikorpupu Springs has dropped below its Mean Annual Low Flow (MALF). Many of the rivers and creeks in Takaka would reach their MALFs if there was no rain this week. River flows at Appleby are at about 1.2 m3, and have dropped quickly (~ 0.5 m3) in the last week with the dry weather and windy conditions. There is a real concern that if this weather pattern persists groundwater levels and lower river flow will continue to drop quickly.

This continuing dry has increased the risk of seawater intrusion along the coastal margin of the Waimea Plains. Mr Bush-King said salt water levels are turning up in the Hau Zone in Motueka and Lower Queen Street and will be monitored closely given there is still two months to go before summer water demand will drop. 

Residents and businesses in Richmond, Mapua – Ruby Bay, Hope, Brightwater and Wakefield and their rural extensions face a number of restrictions. Residents in Richmond, Mapua – Ruby Bay, Hope, Brightwater and Wakefield and their rural extensions may not water lawns but may use handheld hosing to water productive gardens on alternate days (your house street number indicates whether you may water on odd or even calendar days).  Washing cars and any unnecessary use of water should also not happen.  All surface and groundwater takes where the water is applied to lawns and gardens are also prohibited.

“It has been encouraging to see a drop in water consumption in the Richmond supply area and residents are commended for their conservation efforts, which should continue.”

Water users in the Wai-Iti zone continue to benefit from regular releases of water from the Kainui Dam even though the amount of water released is increasing.  The dam is 90% full and expected to provide 9 weeks of supply.

Mr Bush-King said that the Waimea Community Dam will avoid these restrictions in most years, noting that those water permit holders who elect not to be shareholders would be under restrictions once the dam construction is complete.