Tukituki and Waipawa rivers levels plummeting

New Zealand: Hawke's Bay growers sound alarm over water ban

Hawke's Bay fruit and vegetable growers say they'll be hit hard by a ban on taking water from two rivers, as their levels are dropping at the moment.

The ban on the Tukituki and Waipawa rivers and streams means about 200 consent holders cannot take their allocated amounts, leaving many irrigators without any alternative.

Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Jim Galloway said many crops would suffer: "All our veggie crops for McCains and Watties such as beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, beetroot, onions. Then your trees such as apples, if they don't have water for too long they'll die or the fruit might not mature and yields will be well down."

A lack of rainfall in the Ruahine ranges, which fed the region's main rivers, combined with hot dry weather was to blame for the drop in river levels, which were nearing those experienced during the 2013 drought, Hawke's Bay Regional Council group regulation manager Liz Lambert said.

With no rainfall on the horizon, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council said further restrictions were likely.

Source: rnz.co.nz

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