Infrastructure, planning and regulatory manager Dave Gittings in the Kaipatangata Stream yesterday where the water level was lower than ankle depth. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

ELISA VORSTER

elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

A summer problem has hit spring with water restrictions already in force in Carterton.

Carterton District Council [CDC] made the announcement yesterday citing a lack of rainfall as the cause of extremely low levels in the district’s rivers and streams.

The restrictions mean only hand-held hoses and sprinkler use is permitted on alternate days, in a move which applies town residents and any rural addresses connected to the Carterton water supply.

On the plus side, any resident who take part in the council’s online annual residents’ survey before November 19 will go into the draw to win a 200L emergency water tank — something which may come in handy should the restrictions extend until the end of summer.

CDC infrastructure, planning and regulatory manager Dave Gittings said water levels in the Kaipatangata Stream were so low the water was no longer flowing over the dam wall, forcing the council to open sluice gates to keep water flowing.

The current water level was getting close to the point where council would no longer be able to take from the stream, as set out in its consent.

“We’re at the point where we’ve put restrictions in because it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Gittings said.

The lack of a decent rainfall in previous weeks had caused lower than ankle-deep levels and left council with no option but to enforce restrictions.

The council has also cut back on its water take for water races, with Gittings saying there would still be a water flow but not as much as usual.

He said some rainfall was expected soon, which could see the restrictions lifted before summer, but there was no way of knowing for sure.

Should the water levels get any lower, the town would be limited to the supplementary bore intake.

“At the moment we’re sitting on the cautious side.

“We’re suffering the effects of climate change which means drier dry periods and excessive hot days.”

Part of the council’s Ten Year Plan included a budget to investigate an alternate water source with the intention of implementing it at the end of the 10 year period.

Gittings said this would allow council to “keep pace” with the effects of climate change and accommodate Carterton’s growing population.

Neither Masterton District or South Wairarapa had plans to impose restrictions in the near future, they said yesterday.