Recent rainfall provides minimal relief

Recent rainfall across the Horizons Region has provided minimal relief to dry conditions, especially in areas significantly affected.

Horizons Regional Council environmental data manager Brent Watson says while there has been some rainfall in catchments, this has only resulted in small increases in stream flow.

“Any increase in flow and lifting of restrictions is expected to be short-lived and restrictions may come back into place relatively quickly. Unfortunately there has been little relief for the likes of the Tararua District who are currently operating on emergency consent conditions to maintain water supply to Dannevirke and Norsewood.”

Horizons emergency management manager Ian Lowe says Tararua District Council has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to manage the impact of water shortage in urban and rural areas.

“Horizons is supporting the District Council with staff and advice for the EOC operations and is continuing to liaise with the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Rural Coordination Group to support the rural communities impacted across the region.

“With our supporting data we expect the Rural Coordination Group to make an application to the Ministry for Primary Industries to declare a medium adverse event for the entire Horizons Region over the coming days.

“The CDEM Group office at Horizons is also working in a liaison role with the National Emergency Management Agency and partner agencies regarding the local and national impacts as the dry conditions continue to affect large parts of the central and northern parts of the North Island.”

Mr Watson says there is a possibility of some more rainfall for parts of the region over the next week.

“However, once again this is likely to provide little relief and we expect water restrictions to continue to rise. Presently, 69 resource consents are subject to water restrictions, with a further 49 nearing restriction with numbers changing daily and updated on our website.

“The majority of these restrictions apply to parts of the Manawatū and Rangitīkei Rivers and their tributaries. As such, we continue to encourage consent holders to closely monitor their water use using Horizons 'My Meter' page, store water where possible, and continue to use water wisely.”

Mr Watson says Horizons environmental data and science staff are focusing on detailed catchment studies and ensuring all monitoring sites are working to expectation.

“With some streams so low, such as the Tamaki which is the lowest since records began in 1975 and the Hautapu which hasn’t seen rain in over 100 days, it is really important that our systems perform accurately and deliver timely data and information.”

Mr Lowe says Horizons understands the continuing dry situations are putting a lot of stress on communities.

“Please remember that while restrictions apply, water is still available for stock and domestic water supply. However, consent holders need to check their conditions to determine how much they can take under this emergency provision and contact us if they are in doubt.

“There are also support networks available for those that are struggling and we’d like to remind landowners to reach out if they need it.”