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Water restrictions imposed as big dry takes toll

News release
31 January 2008

Water restrictions imposed as big dry takes toll

Greater Wellington has imposed further water restrictions in the Wairarapa as hot and dry weather, little rainfall and increased demand from irrigators take their toll on river flows and groundwater levels.

Restrictions have been placed on consented water takes from the Papawai Stream, Pahaoa River, and Whangaehu River. In addition a full ban on consented water takes for irrigation has now been imposed on the Waingawa River, Booths Creek, Otakura Stream, Mangatarere Stream, Kopuaranga River, Parkvale Stream, and Ruamahanga River.

Water restrictions are placed on most resource consents issued for taking water from rivers and streams during low flow periods to preserve river and stream life. Flows in many Wairarapa rivers this month have in some cases fallen to less than half of their average flows for January (see table below), while groundwater levels are also very low.

Restrictions are not imposed on water takes from groundwater bores unless they are close to rivers and streams and are identified to have some adverse effects on those rivers and streams.

Greater Wellington consents and compliance team leader Stephen Thawley said staff would be monitoring compliance with the restrictions. “If there is non-compliance we will be taking follow-up action.”

He said most consent holders were complying with their consent conditions and with water restrictions when they are in place.

“Generally people are accepting of the restrictions even though it is difficult to implement them so early, but we have come across instances of people being unaware of what is contained in their consents or operating without appropriate resource consents in place.”

Chair of the Catchment Management Committee Cr Ian Buchanan said the Council was committed to the sustainable management of water takes from Wairarapa’s rivers, streams and aquifers.

“The extraordinarily warm and dry summer is putting stress on our rivers, streams and groundwater so we’ve had to impose restrictions much earlier than usual. It’s important that everyone complies with their consents so adverse environmental effects on our waterways are minimised.”

A full list of restrictions can be viewed at www.gw.govt.nz


Table 1: Average January flows in Wairarapa rivers and streams (to 30 January)
Average long-term January flow (m3/s) January 2008 average flow
(to date) (m3/s) January 2008 lowest flow
(to date) (m3/s)
Waingawa River 6.91 2.76 1.34
Otakura Stream 0.22 0.06 0.006
Upper Ruamahanga (at Wardells) 12.87 4.84 2.05
Lower Ruamahanga (at Waihenga) 45.92 18.42 7.60
Waiohine River 17.76 10.90 3.71
Mangatarere River 0.97 0.17 0.06
Kopuaranga Stream 0.95 0.298 0.21

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