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Drought Intensifies in Hawke’s Bay

Drought Intensifies in Hawke’s Bay

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is placing an irrigation ban on the Tukipo River, a tributary of the Tukituki River, effective midnight tonight (Wednesday).

Darryl Lew, Manager Regulation, says that consent holders are being contacted today and advised of this.

“The river dropped quickly within the week since the last flow measurement, dropping to 102 litres per second, which is below its low flow limit of 110 l/s.”

On Monday 18 February a complete irrigation ban was placed on the Waipawa River, another tributary of the Tukituki. There is a low flow warning on the upper section of the Tukituki and, while flows are dropping in the lower section, it is still above its low flow limit.

On Tuesday the Regional Council also placed a warning on the Makaretu Stream at the State Highway 50 monitoring site as this stream is also approaching its low flow limit of 170 l/s.

“There now are currently eight rivers or streams under irrigation bans in Hawke’s Bay. These are the Ngaruroro, Tukipo and Waipawa Rivers, and the Irongate, Karamu, Karewarewa, Papanui and Poukawa streams. Five low flow warnings are in place on the Tukituki River and the Makaretu, Maraekakaho, Raupere, and Te Waikaha Streams.”

Despite some January rainfall of approx 30 mm in some areas and February rainfalls of 50-60 mm in some areas, this has been insufficient to replenish flows in the region’s rivers. The forecast for the next 10 days is for more dry weather with a low chance of any significant rainfall.

Regional Council Chairman, Rex McIntyre asks all consent holders subject to irrigation bans to abide by Council directions.

“This drought is a good example of why businesses dependent on water need to think about drought proofing their operations as much as possible. Long term climate change predictions are that we could get drier. The Regional Council is keen to work proactively with water dependent businesses to plan long term strategies for the region’s needs.”

The Regional Council continues to monitor the situation closely and will make decisions on additional irrigation bans on Friday.


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