Water conservation efforts in place for Opihi River ahead of summer

Rural Exchange 21/10/2018

South Canterbury is preparing for another dry summer with a 14-day water conservation initiative for the Opihi River and its tributaries.

The Water Shortage Direction, which applies to Opihi River, Opuha River and Lake Opuha, will see two weeks of reduced water flow when Lake Opuha is above 375 metres.

Lake Opuha is currently sitting about 94 percent of its capacity at 390 metres.

Opuha Water Limited CEO Andrew Mockford told RadioLIVE that this will be the third direction so far in the season.

Ophua Water Limited is required to maintain a minimum flow of 7 cubic metres per second in the Opihi River (at the Saleyards Bridge).

“We’ve got the ability to conserve water to try and ensure that we get through the whole of the summer season with a good, healthy river,” Mr Mockford said.

Mr Mockford says the Direction will ideally allow farmers to continue to use their irrigation systems in the dryer months.

The Opuha Environmental Flow Release Advisory Group, comprising representatives from district councils, farmers, Opuha Water Limited, river users and tangata whenua, agreed that the 14-day period will be critical for building up water storage.

The Water Shortage Direction is in effect from 16 October for 14 days.

Watch the full video with Andrew Mockford above.

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