Nelson bush fire: Blaze battle sucks water from low-flowing Wai-iti River

10 February 2019

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NEW ZELAND – The battle to contain Nelson’s forest fire is drawing water from the low-running Wai-iti River, an important supply source.

Just after Brightwater, the Wai-iti joins the Wairoa to become the Waimea. Those rivers help recharge the aquifers from which water is drawn for intensive horticulture on the Waimea Plains as well as the Tasman District Council’s reticulated supply for some major industries and residential areas, including Richmond.

Urban and rural water users on and around the Waimea Plains have faced increasingly tougher water restrictions since January 14.

A ban on hosing has applied since January 31 to properties at Brightwater, Wakefield, Richmond, Mapua-Ruby Bay, Hope and Tapawera. Similar restrictions applied in the rural water supply schemes of Eighty-Eight Valley, Redwood Valley and Dovedale.

As the forest fire ravaged the land around them, councillors on Thursday agreed to grant urgent powers to staff to impose further water restrictions on properties connected to the reticulated supply.

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