Water restrictions kicking in across the region

By Gerald Ford -
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Sheep sheltering from the sun on Te Parae Rd, Masterton District. WAG 12Jan15 - HOT: Sheep seek shelter from the sun as temperatures reach 29C on Friday. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK WAG 27Jan15
Sheep sheltering from the sun on Te Parae Rd, Masterton District. WAG 12Jan15 - HOT: Sheep seek shelter from the sun as temperatures reach 29C on Friday. PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK WAG 27Jan15

Water restrictions are just beginning to kick in across Wairarapa, according to information provided by district council and regional councils -- as Niwa declares the region's soils to be "severely drier than normal".

A map on the weekly Niwa Hotspot report shows Wairarapa's soil moisture deficit is at its worst in the southeast of the region.

Soils in Wairarapa are still considered to be "severely drier than normal for this time of year" -- according to the report.

Masterton urban dwellers are now restricted to alternate day sprinkling of their gardens, with set sprinklers only allowed every second day, and handheld hoses otherwise.

The town's annual restrictions began on December 1 and will continue until March 31, with odd-numbered properties able to sprinkle on odd days of the month, and even-numbered properties on the even days.

South Wairarapa District Council policy has the same restrictions year round.

In Carterton, staff are keeping an eye on water supply levels, according to operations manager Garry Baker, and their implementation "depends what happens over the next couple of weeks".

Irrigation restrictions are not yet in place for Wairarapa rivers, according to Wellington Regional Council's Shaun Andrewartha, who is team leader for environmental regulation.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Andrewartha said none of the region's 23 monitored sites had yet reached their compliance limits, although he expected that to change over the weekend.

"The one that usually goes first is the Parkvale Stream at Renall's Weir," Mr Andrewartha said.

"Some of these are on real-time monitoring, but we take a compliance flow reading at 9am that morning."

The Parkvale Stream had been flowing at 151 litres a second at 9am Friday, just one litre above the compliance limit of 150 litres.

"Probably tomorrow if you go on (to the Greater Wellington website), you'll see some restriction," Mr Andrewartha said.

He said the Parkvale reading "is a good indication that we're starting to go dry".

Greater Wellington figures show November rainfall was 77per cent of normal in Tinui Valley, with 58mm falling.

Waiorongomai in South Wairarapa was also at just 58mm, but in that part of the region this was only 49 per cent of the average for November.

The rain gauge at Tauherenikau near Featherston was lowest of all at 42mm, just 47 per cent of the November average. In the Tararua Ranges, rainfall for November was close to normal at 577mm.

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