The Tasman District Council has issued a conserve water notice and is warning that water restrictions could be introduced early in the new year as river levels continue to fall.
The notice applies to the urban areas of Richmond including the Wakatu Industrial Estate and to Mapua, Ruby Bay, Brightwater, Hope, Wakefield, Tapawera and their rural extensions.
To be reviewed on January 6, it also applies to the rural water supply schemes of Redwood Valley, Eighty-eight Valley and Dovedale, and to owners of private domestic wells in the areas subject to rationing.
The council's Dry Weather Taskforce convenor, Dennis Bush-King, said rain this month had been helpful but was not enough.
Irrigation pumping was increasing and while urban water use remained constant, this would increase the rate of decline in river and groundwater levels.
The Waimea Plains could reach the rationing trigger very early in January, he said, and the council would be closely monitoring the situation.
"The problem we will have is notifying water users between Christmas and New Year, so we face the prospect of having to move straight to stage two rationing."
Mr Bush-King advised water users to conserve water and prepare for potential rationing beginning on January 13.
The council is asking that leaks or seepage on roads or footpaths be reported to 03 543 8400 and that residents minimise sprinkler use, clean outside with a broom rather than a hose, and don't wash vegetables or rinse dishes under a running tap.
It lists other suggestions and says: "Don't worry if the savings are minimal, every drop counts!"
- The Nelson Mail
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