Low rainfall and river flows create water restrictions throughout the region

Low rainfall and river flows have resulted in Horizons Regional Council placing water restrictions in many parts of the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.

Horizons’ One Plan established a water allocation framework that includes restrictions on water takes when river flows are low to help protect stream life.

Horizons senior environmental scientist water allocation Raelene Mercer says cumulative rainfall for much of the region is below the 10 year average for this time of the year, based on Horizons’ rainfall monitoring network data.

“This is most notable in the Rangitīkei District, however rainfall in the Horowhenua, Whanganui, Manawatū Districts and Palmerston North City is also below average.

“Twenty one of the 39 sites monitored in our low flow monitoring network are currently reporting flows below minimum restriction levels.

“This is the level at which non-essential water takes are required to cease abstraction, and other takes may be required to reduce.

“Sixty eight consent holders (approximately 65 per cent of consent holders who have minimum flow restriction conditions in their consents) that take surface water for activities such as irrigation and town supply, are having to cease or reduce their activity.

“A further five of our monitored river flow sites are recording flows approaching minimum flow/restriction level. This could potentially impact a further 25 consent holders in the near future if there is no significant rainfall.

The majority of these water take consents are electronically monitored, with information reported daily to Horizons.

“Complete and/or partial water use restrictions have been issued by territorial authorities in the region for a number of towns including:

  • Akitio
  • Norsewood
  • Dannevirke
  • Pahiatua
  • Woodville
  • Pongaroa
  • Eketahuna
  • Owhango
  • Taumarunui
  • National Park
  • Ohakune
  • Raetihi
  • Levin
  • Ōhau
  • Foxton
  • Foxton Beach
Mrs Mercer says consent holders should check their resource consent conditions for minimum flow conditions.

“Those with telemetered water takes, once registered on our Watermatters website can check their relevant minimum flow and water use volumes at http://www.horizons.govt.nz/managing-natural-resources/water/water-matters and manage their water takes accordingly.

“General public can help reduce water consumption by adhering to local restrictions put in place by their local city or district council.

“Key things include limiting or ceasing sprinkler and hose use.”

Interesting facts on household water use and water use reduction measures can be found at http://www.learnz.org.nz/water172/bg-standard-f/water-use