Council to stop almost all watering

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The sprinklers have been turned off in the Gore public gardens, Main St centre plot beds and roadside annual garden plots in Gore and Mataura.

In what is believed to be a first, the Gore District Council will stop watering all annual garden plots in the two towns due to water restrictions.

Watering of the hanging flower baskets in both towns will continue.

Last week the council halved the watering time for the hanging baskets and reviewed adjusting the watering regime for the annual garden plots.

Since Christmas there has also been a ban on staff washing fleet vehicles.

Council chief executive Steve Parry said extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures.

Gore and Mataura were likely to remain on level 4 restrictions in the interim, with continued hot weather forecast and the Mataura River flow extremely low.

Mr Parry said it was his understanding the annual garden plots should get some sustenance from whatever little rainfall there was.

“So they should be able to survive, unlike the hanging baskets which are under the veranda,” Mr Parry said.

The council was mindful of having the town looking as good as possible for the huge influx of visitors for Southern Field Days, he said.

“They [the hanging baskets] only use about the same amount of water each day as a residential property,” Mr Parry said.

Parks and recreation manager Ian Soper said staff monitored the annual beds.

“We may consider using the spraying unit to water the main beds by hand,” he said.

Irrigating the main arena at the Gore showgrounds would continue.

The sand-based arena was a significant district asset used by a lot of community groups, as well as the Gore A&P Association, which was having its annual show next weekend.

“Losing the arena would impact on summer and winter users, such as rugby,” Mr Soper said.

Irrigation was due to start next week at Newman Park rugby grounds.

Residents should not be alarmed though as the water would be drawn from a bore, not the town supply.

The council is continuing to draw water from the Mataura River to supplement the Mataura water supply.

In the past there have been issues with taste, and a water tanker has been in place for about a week to provide residents with drinking water.

3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss said due to the low usage of water from the tanker, and the supplier desperately wanting their trailer back, the council was setting up a smaller water tank on a trailer.

The Ensign’s front page story on Wednesday, about Gore woman Pamela Cavanagh’s request for dispensation from the level 4 restrictions being declined, prompted a reaction on Facebook, much of it questioning why the council was continuing to water public gardens.

One post read: “Stop using the water to do your gardens, plots, pots, and particular chosen lawns or fields Gore council.”

Ms Cavanagh was delighted by the council’s decision.

“I’m really rapt, that’s amazing,” Ms Cavanagh said.

“Like I said, they should be leading by example.”

The hot, dry spell seems set to continue for some time. The MetService forecast for the next several days is 25degC for today, 27degC tomorrow, 26degC on Sunday and 30degC on Monday.

Level 4

Level 4 water restrictions mean:

Total ban on unattended hoses, sprinklers, garden irrigation systems and hand-held hoses.

Car washing by hand-held hose also prohibited.