The need to conserve water is becoming more important every day, the council says, with wind, consistent high temperatures, and increasing water demand causing rivers and groundwater levels to drop.
Dennis Bush-King, convener of the Dry Weather Taskforce, says with no heavy rain relief expected, stage two water restrictions began on Monday. The district has had water restrictions for nine out of the last 10 years, however the council says that the main difference this year is just how late restrictions have been imposed. The lack of rain, strong winds and high temperatures play a big part.
TDC community relations manager Chris Choat says that although we have only just gone into stage two for most of Waimea this week, the outlook is not good.
He says with no sign on the horizon of a let-up in the warm, dry and sometimes windy weather, there is every likelihood water restrictions will be in place for quite a while yet.
People should continue to check the council’s website and Facebook page for updates or changes to water restrictions, he says.
Stage two restrictions mean that a cut of 35 per cent in permitted allocation will apply in the Upper Catchment Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Golden Hills and the Upper confined Aquifer zones.
Water users in the Wai-Iti zone will 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 per cent full and expected to provide nine weeks of supply, according to the council.
River flows at Appleby are at about 1.2 m3, and have dropped quickly (about 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.
The continuing dry has increased the risk of seawater intrusion along the coastal margin of the Waimea Plains.
Dennis says 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.
He has been encouraged to see a drop in water consumption in the Richmond supply area and commended residents for their conservation efforts.
In Richmond, Mapua – Ruby Bay, Brightwater, Wakefield, and Hope, and their rural extensions, the following restrictions apply:
In residential areas watering grass and lawns is prohibited, while watering productive gardens (such as fruit and vegetables for domestic use) is allowed on alternate days, between 6pm and 8am. Things like filling or topping up pools is prohibited, while outdoor washing (vehicles and windows) is permitted using a hose with a trigger nozzle or a bucket.
Dennis says 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.