Water and fire restrictions loom for Hastings

Peter Gaston
The Hastings District Council is warning it may have to impose widespread water restrictions and has stopped issuing fire permits for a large part of the district as Hawke's Bay continues to dry out.
Since January the region had received less than half its normal rainfall with no rain recorded during the past 21 days in Napier and Hastings.
The MetService said the region could expect below average falls for the remainder of autumn.
The next chance of rain was on Monday when rain was forecast but MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said not to expect drought-breaking falls.
The council is considering imposing hosing restrictions in the city for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Hastings water supply manager Chris Davis said it was struggling to maintain supplies at all beach communities, particularly Waimarama and Whirinaki, and in higher areas of Havelock North.
Water at Havelock North had always been an issue because the use there was six to seven times the national average, Mr Davis said.
The problem was the high volumes of water being used on gardens. If people cut back it would take the pressure off and allow the council to manage supplies easier, he said.
The council was having to spend thousands of dollars in power costs to maintain supplies and that would affect rates.
While a restricted fire season remained in force in Hastings District the council was not issuing permits for fires in the very dry and high risk areas such as the coastal hills, Heretaunga Plains, Rissington, Maraekakaho and Matapiro.
Rural fire officer Mark Boere said fire danger levels were reviewed on Monday and it was decided that the permit system allowed the situation to be managed.
Fire-risk levels would continue to be reviewed and, if people remained responsible, it would not be necessary to declare a total fire ban, he said.
* Meanwhile, Napier City Council believed it would get through the summer without water restrictions.
Water supply manager Johannes Ehlers said the city's daily water use was stable on 46-47 million litres, about 10 percent down on two years ago.
"It is a sign the council's save water campaign is working and it has given the city some room to manoeuvre," he said.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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