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Rural Residents Face Bans As Water Levels Drop In The Continuing Dry Conditions

Rural residents are facing water bans as river levels continue to drop in the dry conditions.

Regional Council chief executive James Palmer says water restrictions are common for this time of the year, and it is a difficult time when consent holders aren’t able to take water.

There are currently restrictions and bans on taking water from five rivers and 11 streams across Hawke’s Bay, with the prospect of further restrictions.

“While the river levels are dropping, and this is a concern, we do want to assure people that the overall dry conditions in our region aren’t unusual for this time of the year.”

“The NIWA drought index shows it is very dry, yet we aren’t in a drought at this point. We aren’t in quite the same position that we were in last year facing a drought even though many rivers are approaching similar levels to last year. The farming community are well prepared with plenty of feed in store, from the benefit of plenty of spring rain.”

"We acknowledge that the management and allocation of groundwater is of interest to the community, and Tangata Whenua, and we have a major reform process underway to address this. National policy requires that we put the environment first and the economy second when waterways and their inhabitants, such as the fish, insects and birds, come under stress.”

People with resource consents to take water receive an email or text from the Regional Council informing them of any restrictions or bans and up to date information on the situation is also available on the regional council website.

As more water take bans come into place the Compliance Team is monitoring any exceedances and following up with any consent holders not complying with their resource consent conditions.

Regional Council’s Principal Climate Scientist, Dr Kathleen Kozyniak says the La Nina conditions are expected to persist over the next few months.

“There is a greater mix of forecast models covering below, normal, and above normal rainfall over the next three months. That inconsistency isn’t helpful but the consistency in the pattern says to expect more of what we’ve had over the past couple of months, with the chance that a tropical system could bring significant rain to resolve concerns about creeping dryness.”

To see details of the rivers and streams with restrictions and bans visit www.hbrc.govt.nz #lowflows

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