11 November 2021

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana is keeping a close eye on river and groundwater levels as we head into summer off the back of two very dry years.

The last two summers have seen some streams in the Bay of Plenty reach their lowest ever recorded flows, but Water Shortage Event Manager Steve Pickles said there may be some relief this year.

Weather predictions show that rainfall this coming summer is expected to be normal and after some recent rainy weather we are already experiencing a promising increase in some river flows.

“Most of our rivers are in a healthy state as we enter summer but we are carefully watching the streams flowing from the Kaimai and Mamaku ranges which have experienced very low flows this year,” said Mr Pickles.

Groundwater levels are stable when compared to last year but will likely decrease heading into summer.

“Groundwater follows a seven-to-10-year recharge cycle and we appear to be in a lower recharge cycle at the moment,” said Mr Pickles.

“In areas where there is lower rainfall, we may see some shallow wells drying up and smaller streams and springs with reduced flow.”

The Regional Council is responsible for caring for the region’s waterways and ensuring people’s use of water is sustainable and has ongoing monitoring in place to check that healthy base flow levels are maintained in the region’s rivers, streams and aquifers.

“In dry summers, we do extra monitoring to ground-truth automatic gauges and check on smaller waterways where we don’t have live monitoring in place,” said Mr Pickles.

“There are many tools we at the Regional Council can employ to protect the mauri of the water but across the region, everybody can also do their part to help to care for local waterways.

“Water users should check for leaks in their systems, and take steps to always use water as efficiently as possible to avoid wasting it.”

More information on how we manage dry summers can be found at https://www.boprc.govt.nz/our-projects/dry-weather-water-management

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