Grass is tinder dry in Masterton. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

MARCUS ANSELM
marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

Masterton’s outdoor water ban is back, but lower valley gardens will get some respite as Wairarapa’s district councils tackle the big dry in different ways.

Councils across the North Island have made moves to preserve water as the South Island struggles with flooding.

Wairarapa’s weather outlook remains dry for the next seven to 10 days, MetService forecasts said.

And the difference in supply from north to south means local authority’s approaches vary.

Masterton District Council has restored its total water ban after Waingawa River levels dropped over the weekend.

South of the river, Carterton’s ban remains in place but South Wairarapa District Council has eased its total ban after a weekly review by experts Wellington Water.

Masterton’s dependency on the Waingawa means a total watering ban is considered when its flow falls below 1100 litres per second.

MDC’s David Hopman said there had been “a fantastic response from Masterton residents” when the ban was placed in January.

“Unfortunately, there is no significant rain in the forecast for the next week, so this restriction may stay in place for some time.”

Monday’s weekly review in South Wairarapa meant an end to a total outdoor ban – for this week.

In a Monday briefing, the council and WW considered factors such as supply of available water, storage levels, networks and treatment plants, and expected rainfall.

From yesterday, people may water their gardens using hand-held devices only, on alternate days, South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said.

“With no significant rainfall forecast we’ll need to be careful.

“A close eye will be kept on water consumption, and outdoor water restrictions will be reassessed in a week’s time.”

Beijen said a ban still applied to irrigation devices, sprinklers, and unattended hoses.

Wellington Water has called on users throughout its wider region to cut back.

Residents in the capital, Hutt Valley, and Porirua are facing the sorts of bans being felt across Wairarapa already this summer.

“If we continue at this rate, we will need to implement a sprinkler ban within the next few days,” WW’s Laurence Edwards said.

Carterton remains on a total outdoor water ban, although usage has remained under the town bore’s 2500m3 limit this month.

Usage in the district was above that limit for half of January, leading to the ban.

A total watering ban remains in place throughout Tararua district.

Councils have urged residents to continue saving as much water as they could and limit use.

A fire bans remains in place throughout the area.