Dry weather leads to irrigation water-take restrictions

As the dry, hot weather continues, low flow in many of Marlborough’s streams and rivers has led to early irrigation restrictions for some users. As such, the Marlborough District Council reminds consent holders to comply with their water take consents and urges local residents to take heed of any water restrictions and use water efficiently.

Marlborough District Council Environment Committee Chairman David Oddie says some restrictions on the amount of water that can be taken from a number of Marlborough rivers, including the Rai, Waihopai, Wairau, Awatere and Omaka Rivers, have already come into effect, which is unusual for this time of year.

Weather conditions over the coming weeks and months will determine whether further restrictions will come into full effect, especially when it comes to water takes from the region’s main Wairau, Waihopai and Awatere Rivers.

“It’s a catch-22 situation – as the dry weather continues, farmers and vineyard owners rely more heavily on our rivers to irrigate; however the same weather conditions also result in lower river flows to begin with,” Councillor Oddie says.

For those who can continue to irrigate, it is important they ensure their irrigation systems are operating efficiently and in accordance with industry agreed good management practices.

River ecology and water quality can be adversely impacted if river levels become too low. The minimum flow levels used by the Council have been determined for each river through the resource management planning process, which considers a range of factors including instream values, water quality, water demand and localised hydrology.
“We all need to play our part in ensuring that water across the region is managed and used sustainably,” Councillor Oddie says.

Council encourages consent holders to be mindful of their water use. Users can view up-to-date information on irrigation and water restrictions at http://hydro.marlborough.govt.nz