Water restrictions continue in Tauranga due to continued low flow in the streams that supply the city’s drinking water. An unprecedented situation that reflects the knock-on effect of three unusually dry summers for the Bay of Plenty.
Stephen Burton, Director of City Waters for Tauranga City Council, said that despite recent rain there’s been no improvement in the rate of flow in the streams that supply our drinking water, which is of real concern.
"The current situation is a first for Tauranga. Never have city-wide sprinkler restrictions been necessary beyond the first week of April. Also, historically, restrictions have been necessary due to water treatment capacity constraints during peak summer periods. What we’re looking at now is a different issue; a potential problem sourcing water due to unprecedented drought in our region and the need to protect stream health."
"We are working to bring additional source water and treatment capacity into service for Tauranga as soon as possible. The new Waiāri water supply scheme, due to be completed late 2022, will supplement existing supplies, provide additional resilience in extended periods of drought and cater for future growth."
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council have indicated the possibility of less frequent rain events than normal this winter. This will directly impact recharge of groundwater and increases in river flow and soil moisture across the region.
Mr Burton emphasises this is not just an issue for Tauranga, with similar problems being experienced throughout New Zealand.
"Even though the effects of a changing climate show up differently for various regions, it requires us all to look at how water is managed in a new light."
"We are working hard to find alternative solutions for sourcing and supplementing our water, however none of these will be quick fixes."
Tauranga City Council continues to work closely with Bay of Plenty Regional Council to assess the impact of drought conditions and water levels in the region on our source water supplies.
More information about water conservation