17 December 2020

Dry conditions across the Bay of Plenty region this year are causing stream flows levels to drop, before the traditionally dry months of summer have even arrived.

Although many parts of the region are not currently experiencing low flows because of rainfall in November, some streams are beginning to recede due to a dry December.

Catchment to the south and west of Rotorua are a particular concern because their headwaters come from the Mamaku plateau and have not responded to November rainfall.

Streams in this area including the Puarenga, Ngongotaha, Paraiti (Mangorewa) and Waiari are very low and will be monitored closely into the new year to see if water shortage restrictions are required.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Water Shortage Event Manager Steve Pickles urged water users to continue planning for reduced access to water in anticipation of drier weather conditions to come.

"The rain that we had last month was welcomed but has not been enough to curb the effects of back to back dry summer seasons. 

"We are still not out of the woods and need to ensure if the dry weather continues we are not depleting our resources to the point where environmental harm is caused."

During the heat of last year’s summer, Bay of Plenty Regional Council adopted the Water Shortage Standard Operating Procedure to help manage dry weather events. Most parts of the Bay of Plenty can expect more of these long dry spells as the impacts of climate change are felt.

The procedure provides staff and water users more clarity around when a Water Shortage Direction would be issued if dry weather continues.

For further media information, please contact media@boprc.govt.nz