New Approach to Water Restrictions Proposed

Friday 11 May 2018

The Tasman District Council will consult on a revised bylaw that establishes clear guidelines about how homes and businesses in Tasman District will be expected to reduce their water use during future droughts or emergency water shortages.

The Council will consult on an updated Public Water Supply Bylaw, including a new phased approach to water restrictions for those on Council-provided water supplies throughout Tasman District.

Engineering Services Committee chairman Stuart Bryant says the new approach is needed to give people clear advice about when the Council will impose water restrictions, what the restrictions will be, and how they will be enforced.

“Our existing bylaw provides us with quite broad discretion and flexibility about how we impose water restrictions. However, it is not specific about what the restriction steps will be, and how we expect people to reduce their water use. We need to be clear about that so people can plan for how they might adapt in times when water is scarce."

The phased approach would see restrictions imposed at a low level initially, with restrictions on non-essential outdoor activities such as filling pools and washing cars.

“If we find water use is not dropping enough in the early restriction phases, we then have the ability to escalate to more severe measures. In an emergency situation or severe drought, we would look to restrict water use to essential human and animal health needs and firefighting only,” Stuart explained.

Stuart said businesses would be encouraged to develop water shortage plans to prepare for water cuts that could be imposed in emergency drought conditions.

“The most severe restrictions would only be imposed in rare circumstances in most parts of the District. If we do not proceed with a water storage solution for the Waimea Plains, we estimate we may need to move into the severe phase five and six restrictions about once every six to 10 years.”

The revised bylaw, including a six-phase water rationing framework, will be consulted on with residents in the middle of 2018, before a final decision is made by the Council before the end of the year.

Summary of Proposed Water Restriction Phases

Phases 1 and 2 - Permitted use: Conservation required. Limits on garden watering and outdoor use such as washing cars. Filling pools not permitted.

Phases 3 and 4 – Restricted use: Restrictions in effect for all water users. Outdoor washing of cars, house exteriors etc permitted only for safety reasons, and with a bucket only. Productive gardens may be watered with a bucket only. Businesses must implement Water Shortage Plans and reduce usage by 25% - 50%.

Phases 5 and 6 – Prohibited use: Emergency measures. Essential health and firefighting use only. All other water use prohibited.

Next Steps

  • Council consider draft bylaw for consultation (June 2018)
  • Public consultation on draft bylaw (mid-2018)
  • Hearings
  • Final bylaw with any changes adopted (late 2018)