More helpful rain overnight on Tuesday, and some more on the horizon, means the Tasman District Council can further relax water restrictions across the District with immediate effect.

Restrictions are lifted completely in Golden Bay, Tapawera and several other zones. Motueka is still not under any restriction.

However, the Waimea Plains did not receive enough rain to lift restrictions entirely and water conservation remains important in that area. Dovedale and the Moutere Surface Water zone remain at a cease take, with water only available for essential human needs and animal welfare.

Dry Weather Taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King said restrictions for the Waimea area were reduced to Stage 2 with immediate effect. For permit holders, that meant a 35% cut in allocations and the end of water-sharing arrangements from Monday 18 March. For urban residents, a lawn and garden hosing ban would remain in force for now, Dennis said.

“While we had significant rainfall in some parts of the District, particularly in the upper catchments of Golden Bay, the Waimea area received only a relatively small dampening and groundwater levels are only back to the same levels we saw in early February. It was enough for us to relax the outdoor water use ban for businesses needing to use water for their operations, but we are asking residents to continue using water outdoors only sparingly.”

Very little rain fell in the Moutere Surface Water and Dovedale zones, so the cease take would remain in place, he said. The Dry Weather Taskforce would reassess that when it met next week, Dennis said.

“The Moutere Western and Moutere Eastern groundwater zones remain at Stage 1 as we would still want to see greater recovery in aquifer levels before relaxing the restrictions in that area.”

Dennis said overall while water sources in much of the District were beginning to bounce back from the long drought, the risk was not completely gone.

“Risks to our water supplies, particularly in the Waimea area, remain. The river flow has removed the bund across the Waimea River and we intend to see what happens to salinity and aquifer levels.”

“We need the community to continue the stellar water saving efforts they’ve shown over the past month. There was a 28% reduction in water use by those using the Council supply last week. Things are improving but we’re not in the clear yet so please keep it up.”

Dennis said people drawing water from the Eighty-Eight Valley rural water supply scheme had been the least responsive to the need to conserve water over the past few weeks. “This is definitely not the time for anyone to relax completely and begin to ramp up their water demand.”

Full list of water restrictions from Wednesday 13 March 2019

Urban communities and rural extensions

Stage 2: Richmond, Hope, Brightwater, Wakefield, Mapua, Ruby Bay
  • Lawn and garden hosing ban remains
  • Residents may water gardens using a bucket or watering can on alternate days
  • Other residential outdoor surfacing washing permitted using a bucket
  • Businesses may wash outdoor surfaces as usual when required for operational reasons (eg. Waterblasting for house painting preparation)
  • No surface water takes permitted

All restrictions are lifted for Tapawera and Golden Bay. 

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
  • Stage 2 (35% cut): Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Upper Confined Aquifer and Golden Hills zones move back to Stage 2 from Stage 3 restrictions
  • Stage 1 (20% cut): Lower Confined, Hope Gravel, Wai-iti and Wai-iti Dam Service zones move back to Stage 1 from Stage 2 restrictions. Moutere Western Groundwater and Moutere Eastern Groundwater zones remain at Stage 1.
  • All restrictions are lifted for the Aorere, Takaka zones, Motupiko, Wangapeka, Tapawera, Glen Rae, Tadmor, Baton and Stanley Brook zones
  • Previously approved informal well-sharing arrangements are no longer permitted from Monday 18 March. Those pre-existing well-sharing arrangements covered by consent are still operative.

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

  • Dovedale: Water for essential human needs and animal welfare only.
  • Redwood and Eighty-Eight Valley: Lawn and garden hosing ban.