Further water restrictions in Dannevirke may be necessary

Council would like to thank the community for the water conservation efforts to date and for their help in reporting leaks. However, it is necessary that the community, including extraordinary users, rally together to further reduce water usage.

On 5th January 2022, Council was required to implement Total Outdoor Ban restrictions which led to some reduction in use. Without further water conservation in Dannevirke, Council will have to move from the current Total Outdoor Ban restrictions to an Essential Use Only restriction to prevent water from running out. Dannevirke’s water is sourced from the Tamaki River and the water levels are dropping.

Following recent dry weather, the river water flow has reduced to “low flows”, below 240 litres per second, which triggers a reduction in the rate of water Council can take. Council’s allowable take during “low flows” is less than the current daily usage for the town. Typically, Council compensates in these circumstances by drawing water from the Dannevirke reservoir. While this is now happening, Council has forecast this is not sustainable over summer as the reservoir was only able to be partly filled following the discovery of a leak that meant it had to be mostly emptied for urgent repairs. The reservoir is approximately a third full at present.

Tararua District Council Mayor Tracey Collis says: “We would like to assure Dannevirke residents that there is enough water to go about the day to day activities of drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Other than this, we now need to come together in a collective effort to conserve water. Especially in Dannevirke, now is the time to rally together to adopt an ‘every drop counts’ approach and only use water when absolutely necessary. We’re starting to experience the impacts of climate change on our day to day lives, not only in Tararua but across New Zealand and the world. The conservation of water is being increasingly crucial to maintain our way of life. Water is becoming a scarce resource – let us work together to conserve it.”

As river levels are dropping throughout the region, Council is working closely with Horizons Regional Council to ensure water supply and is grateful for this support. Council has established a dedicated response team to manage this event to ensure security of water supplies in Dannevirke and the other towns in the district. We are also working closely with high water users to maximise the water savings available to them. We are also looking to provide the community with water savings tips and ideas to ensure we collectively save every drop we can.

Under the current water restrictions, there will be a process to apply for extraordinary water use in which Council will consider exemptions, for example for businesses. Application forms will be made available at our service centres and on Council’s website. Given the seriousness of the current water situation, enforcement action may be required to be taken against those who do not adhere to the water restriction level.  The application form can be downloaded here.

While Dannevirke is the priority at present, water levels in rivers are reducing across the district so an increased focus on water conservation is important in all our towns.

Pahiatua’s water restrictions: Have moved up a level to Alternate Night Restrictions, following reduced river levels and increased demand. This means hand-held hoses only on alternate evenings between 7pm - 9pm.

Woodville’s water restrictions: Has been increased to Alternate Days, now that the Mangapapa source is approaching low flows which require Council to stop taking any water. Rain is forecast across the district for next week. This will help in the short term, however, is not expected to have a long-lasting effect. We are very thankful to everybody for their efforts in conserving water, and for their patience, understanding and collaboration to help us maintain our water supply