More water restrictions will be introduced in Tasman district as the impact of the dry weather bites.
For urban residents that means notice being given to conserve water, and handheld hosing only permitted on alternate days.
For farmers and growers in worst-hit areas already under first stage restrictions, it means a further cut in water takes.
Tasman District Council's dry weather taskforce convenor Dennis Bush-King said: "The absence of any serious rain since late January means things are dry and river and groundwater levels continue to drop across the district. We are moving to stage 2 for the areas of the Waimea Plains that came into restrictions last week, and will be introducing stage 1 restriction in the Lower Confined Aquifer and Hope Zones on the Waimea."
The Waimea River had dropped 700 litres/sec at Appleby Bridge over the past week so the rate of decline in river flow and drop in groundwater levels was increasing so measures were neededto ensure it did not dry up, he said
There is still no rationing required in the Wai-iti Zone as the council had started releasing water from the Wai-iti water augmentation dam at Kainui. The Anatoki River is under water restrictions.
"We are also watching carefully the Motupiko and Upper Motueka rivers and they too are getting close to rationing being introduced."
The stage 2 rationing means a cut in use by 35 per cent of consented water take levels and will apply in the Upper Catchment, Reservoir, Waimea West, Delta, Golden Hills, and Upper Confined Aquifer zones on the Waimea Plains. Stage 1 means a cut in use by 20 per cent in the Lower Confined, Hope, Motupiko water management zones. These restrictions come into effect from Monday.
The council will continue a conserve water notice in the urban areas of Richmond, Mapua, Ruby Bay, Brightwater, Hope, Wakefield, Tapawera and their rural extensions. This also applies to the rural water supply schemes of Redwood Valley, 88 Valley, and Dovedale and to owners of private domestic wells in the areas subject to rationing.
Handheld hosing only is permitted on odd and even calendar days corresponding to the house street number. Owners of private domestic wells in the areas subject to rationing are also directed to only water domestic gardens every second day.
Mr Bush-King said the Redwood Valley scheme would require special measures to reduce water demand and the council would be notifying scheme members to get them to conserve water.
"While we can continue to be thankful the onset of rationing was later than might otherwise have been expected, groundwater decline is increasing sharply at a time when water for crops is still needed.
"Rain is predicted in 10 days but it may not be enough to prevent further restrictions."
The Richmond area affected includes Daelyn Drive, Taranaki Place, Joyce Place, Kingi Place, John Sutton Place and Hill St North, including Mako St, Marino St, Iti Ln and the Wakatu industrial estate.
The Nelson City Council is also asking residents who take their water from streams or wells to use it responsibly and conserve it whenever possible.
The restrictions do not apply to those on the council reticulated supply, and water levels in the Maitai Dam and Maitai and Roding rivers are adequate.
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