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Latest News / Tasman: Critical Water Shortage

Tasman: Critical Water Shortage

The drought in Tasman continues to worsen. There no significant rain since Christmas and the above average temperatures and drying winds have exacerbated the problem. Golden Bay is extremely dry as are some other areas. Motueka/Riwaka are dry, but at least the water levels are such that most irrigation zones are not significantly compromised.

The Waimea plains are a real concern as the water restrictions are currently at a 65% reduction and are likely to move to an 80% restriction in a week or so. There is a real likelihood of a ‘cease take’ being enforced if there is not rain to charge the river/aquifers soon. This would be catastrophic for kiwifruit growers on the plains as not only would this year’s crop be likely to fail, but next year’s crop could be compromised as well.


Growers who are facing these conditions are being reminded that they need to take the situation seriously and to think about how they may be able to mitigate a nil water situation.

We have some suggestions/comments that growers should consider:

  • Manage your available water carefully. Ensure there are no leaks and that you are not over watering any plants.
  • A little and often can be a good way of stretching the water out and keeping the plants from going into periods of wilt.
  • Manage plants that are stressed by removing crop load.
  • Talk to neighbours in the same watering zone about each other’s watering needs and consider well sharing. Tasman District Council have said they will consider applications to do this as a high priority.
  • Consider how to ensure your high value crops (Sungold) are harvestable, possibly at the expense of lower value crops (Hayward).
  • Is water storage possible? There are 200,000 litre bladders available at a moderate cost (around $10,000). These could be useful in a nil water situation. Water can be purchased and bought in by tanker.
  • If you are in a zone that has plenty of water available, consider offering some to those who may be short.
  • Do not take more than you are allowed on your water permit. TDC will be very tough on offenders
  • If you are stressed or worried, seek help. The kiwifruit community has a history of helping each other. NZKGI is happy to help individuals find solutions.
  • If you think of a solution that could help, then share it. We don’t need to be alone in tough times.

More information can be found on this factsheet here.