Southlanders urged to conserve water

Cr Ebel Kremer giving his plants a morning water this week. A full hosing ban was lifted in Te Anau last Friday (January 19), but restrictions on automatic sprinkler systems are still in place across the Southland District.

Even with the recent rains, Southland councils are asking residents to continue to be wise about water use.

Environment Southland is encouraging people across all of Southland to conserve water as the dry conditions are likely to continue, and the Southland District Council (SDC) still has restrictions in place on automatic sprinklers and prolonged water use across the district.

Environment Southland director of science and information Graham Sevicke-Jones said the recent rains were expected to have little to no effect on river levels and aquifers across the region.

"Unless we get some heavy, sustained rain it isn't going to alleviate the situation and it remains concerning," he said.

Water restrictions are already in place across most of Southland, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand have issued a complete fire ban for Southland.

Across the Southland District, restrictions on automated sprinkler systems are still in place. The restrictions also mean people cannot leave hoses running unattended and not use water for prolonged periods of time such as to fill a swimming pool or wash a car.

Last Tuesday (January 16) the SDC also put into effect a full hosing ban for Te Anau and Tuatapere, which was consequently lifted in both towns later that week. 

Cr Ebel Kremer, of Te Anau, said there had been some concern in the community that Te Anau's treatment plant was getting close to its resource consent limits, but this wasn't the case. The council had a consent to work with up to 6000 cubic litres a day, and the highest they had reached over the holiday season was approximately 4700 cubic litres.

He said it was a combination of factors coming together at the same time that prompted the ban in Te Anau. The treatment plant's UV treatment system was having power surges and one of the pumps had failed. On top of this, water demand was high given the dry conditions. 

He said a backup generator kickstarted the UV treatment system and the pump was replaced within two days. The town's treatment system was now back to normal, but the council was still asking people to be mindful of their water use.

Both councils say they are continuing to monitor the situation. 

This Saturday's World Wetlands Day celebration at the Rakatu Wetlands outside Manapouri has had to be cancelled due to the extremely dry conditions, which organisers said would hinder the success of the planting bee. The Waiau Fisheries and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Trust and the Department of Conservation will revisit holding this event later in the year.


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