Friday, February 9, 2024

"Nature's Wrath Unleashed: Tasman District Braces for Devastating Water Crisis"


Waimea Plains

Unprecedented rationing implemented for Moutere Eastern Groundwater zone -  Waimea Unaffiliated A Permits move to Stage One water restrictions

9 February, 2024 - Press release

Water Shortage Directions, which come into effect on Monday 12 February, 2024 will affect several water management zones across the Tasman District. 

For the first time, Stage Four rationing – or a 65% cut from authorised weekly usage – has been put in place  for the Moutere Eastern Groundwater Zone.  

These measures have come as the Moutere Deep Groundwater level dropped to its lowest on record – in reaching 29.8 metres, the Eastern Groundwater Zone is now below the Stage Three trigger of 31m. 

“These are unprecedented low levels, and we need to consider the aquifer integrity and protection,” Dry Weather Task Force Convenor Kim Drummond said. 

 “We also appreciate that these actions are being implemented at a time when irrigation and growing needs are at a critical phase of growing and/or harvesting. 

“Following discussions with those affected by potential restrictions, we have decided not to bring in a cease take for this zone in favour of moving to Stage Four rationing. 

“Moutere Western deep groundwater has fluctuated but seems to be at last weeks level – if there is overall decline in the coming week it may trigger Stage One rationing for next week.” 

Increased concern over an extended dry weather forecast in the coming weeks has led to Stage One restrictions being implemented for Unaffiliated water consent holders in Waimea and an unprecedented Stage Four rationing for the Moutere Eastern Groundwater Zone.  

As well as the Stage Four restrictions, Stage One rationing - or a 20% cut from authorised weekly usage will come into effect for Unaffiliated A Permit consent holders in the Waimea Delta, Golden Hills, Waimea Reservoir, Upper Confined, Waimea Upper Catchments and Waimea West Water Management Zones. 

Stage One rationing will continue for the Motupiko and Rainy Water Management Zones. 

Due to the dry state or extremely low flow of the Dovedale River and Powley Creek, respectively, new Cease Take for all surface water takes (excluding takes from storage) will commence for these Water Management Zones. The existing Cease Take for the Moutere Surface Water Management Zone will remain in effect. 

While recent rain had benefited Buller, Nelson Lakes and Golden Bay - other parts of the district have received minimal rainfall, averaging around 5 – 10 mm.  

Dry areas continue to be Moutere/Dovedale/Motupiko – with also soil condition being very dry in the Waimea as well.  

Kim said “We are grateful for everyone's cooperation and efforts to manage the water demand to reflect the dry conditions. Testament to consent holders’ support is that compliance levels across the district have been maintained at a level that demonstrates responsibility for compliance is being taken seriously”  

“However, with the next two weeks anticipated to be similarly dry – it is important we continue the good work in managing the water available to us.” 

Staff will continue to monitor and update information, with the Dry Weather Task Force team next reviewing the situation on Tuesday 13 February.  

In the meantime, it is important that consent holders were familiar with their Resource Consent conditions.     

These restrictions do not apply to users of Council-managed reticulated water supplies, which are subject to alternative restrictions.    

For more information, go to Current restrictions - consented and private supplies | Tasman District Council

Tasman District Council Communications.

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