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Low river flows, sprinkler ban imposed

Masterton residents cannot use sprinklers due to water restrictions. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Masterton residents are again banned from using sprinklers as the dry spell in Wairarapa continues.

But predicted rainfall at the end of this week is hoped to increase the flow of the Waingawa River, which is teetering on levels that may warrant a total watering ban.

In early January, the flow of the Waingawa River, Masterton’s drinking water source, dropped under 2000 litres per second.

An alternate day sprinkler ban was introduced but was then lifted on January 20 after heavy rain.

On Monday, a total sprinkler ban took effect when levels of the Waingawa River dropped to about 1160L/s.

Handheld hoses could be used during sprinkler restrictions, but the council could temporarily ban outdoor watering if flows fell below 1100L/s.

A Masterton District Council spokesperson said rain was forecast for the latter part of this week, which may allow the sprinkler ban to be lifted.

The MetService forecast showed rain may arrive late on Thursday, followed by about a week of rain.

However, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [Niwa] said rainfall amounts could be very small across most of the North Island at the end of the week.

In Masterton, about 16mm of rain was forecast over Friday and Saturday, Niwa’s forecast showed.

Council billboards on Chapel St, near the fire station, Dixon St, near Kuripuni, and at the entrance of the Masterton transfer station showed the water restrictions that were in place.

Carterton residents were restricted to handheld hoses on alternate days.

In South Wairarapa, there was a ban on sprinklers and irrigation systems for those on the town supply.

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