Water restrictions will be relaxed with immediate effect in some areas after rain over the weekend, but the Tasman District Council warns the showers were not enough to break the drought.

Dry Weather Taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King said the Waimea area would move back to Stage 3 restrictions immediately. That means the 25% cut for businesses connected to the reticulated water networks is lifted, and permit holders face a reduced cut in allocations – now 50% rather than 65%.

However, households connected to the reticulated water network in Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Mapua, Ruby Bay, Wakefield and rural extensions, are still subject to an outdoor water use ban. The exception is watering fruit and vegetables using a bucket or watering can on alternate evenings, which is permitted.

Dennis said: “River levels are already starting to drop back after the weekend’s rain but groundwater levels have lifted because there has been less pumping taking place. While we can relax the restrictions slightly, it’s important people realise we are still in a drought and water conservation remains very important. More rain is signalled for next week and we will reassess the restrictions next Tuesday when the Dry Weather Taskforce meets again.”

Council acting Engineering Services manager Dwayne Fletcher reiterated the need to conserve water was still vital.

“We are keeping the outdoor water use ban in place for now because while there is a small increase in the amount of water available for the reticulated supply, we believe the priority is to lift the business restrictions to ensure the economy can keep ticking over - that protects people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

Full list of water restrictions from Monday 11 March 2019

Urban communities and rural extensions

Stage 3: Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua, Ruby Bay

  • 25% business cut is lifted
  • Outdoor water use ban remains (excludes bucket watering of fruit/vegetables on alternate evenings, firefighting and for genuine health and safety purposes)

Stage 2: Tapawera

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

Stage 1: Upper Takaka, Collingwood, Pohara

  • Sprinkler ban
  • Handheld hosing of gardens on alternate days is permitted

Rural communities

Water permit holders

  • Cease take (water for essential human needs and stock health only): Remains in place for Moutere Surface Water zone and Dovedale but is uplifted for the Powley Creek and Rainy River zones which revert back to operating under the terms of consent
  • Stage 3 (50% cut): Motupiko, Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Upper Confined Aquifer and Golden Hills zones
  • Stage 2 (35% cut): Lower Confined, Hope Gravel, Wai-iti and Wai-iti Dam Service, Wangapeka, Tapawera, Glen Rae, Tadmor, Baton and Stanley Brook zones
  • Stage 1 (20% cut): Moutere Western Groundwater and Moutere Eastern Groundwater, Aorere and Takaka zones (except those consent holders with specific consent conditions requiring greater restrictions)
  • Flow sharing restrictions are lifted in the Riuwaka, Brooklyn and Little Sydney water management zones.

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

  • Dovedale only: Water for essential human needs and animal welfare only
  • Redwood and Eighty-Eight Valley: Outdoor water use ban, except watering fruit/veges with a bucket or watering can on alternate evenings

Private wells and river takes for domestic use

All areas except the Motueka Plains and the Buller

  • No watering lawns
  • Water conservation required