Towns cope amid big dry

By Amie Hickland

The lack of rain has done little to hinder Wairarapa's town water supply and residents have been praised for their responsible use.

Masterton's supply comes from the Waingawa River, and residents use an average of just under 20,000cu. m of water per day.

Masterton District Council chief executive officer Wes ten Hove said there was a continuous water supply from the river.

"Wellington Regional Council consent conditions govern how much water we can take from the river each day," he said.

"This limit is to maintain the health of the river and provide for other downstream users. We are currently within the limits that our consent provides for.

"If the water in the river goes down, we would need to introduce more stringent water-use limits, such as no use of sprinklers or irrigation systems. If further reduction was required, we could prohibit hand-held hoses."

Mr ten Hove said residents had been very responsible in their water use to date and deserved credit for that.

He understood some properties relying on rainwater tanks had had to buy tankers of water.

The Carterton District Council gets its water supply from the Kaipatangata Stream, although it also has a supplementary bore supply on the corner of Frederick St and Lincoln Rd. On an average day, residents would use just under 2500cu. m of water - the highest amount used this year on one day was 2900cu. m.

Operations manager Garry Baker said the water levels in the stream had been "up and down" but that was no cause for concern. "At this stage we're coping. We're monitoring it every day," he said. The council had installed water meters and had seen a dramatic drop in water usage over the past few years.

Water for Greytown and Martinborough comes from bores, while Featherston uses the Waiohine River.

South Wairarapa District Council utilities manager Jean-Paul Irwin said water levels were low and he urged residents to stick to restrictions in place.

"We're certainly working on contingencies if further restrictions are put in place."

Mr Irwin said commercial business owners had been complying with the conditions as he had noticed irrigators were not being used during the day.

"It obviously looks like they're complying with their bore conditions," he said.

"It really does apply to everybody to conserve water."


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