Nick Smith - Nelson MP, Minister National Government

Smith urges Nelson City Council to take regional perspective on water supply


Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith has requested that the Nelson City Council consider reducing its water take from the Roding River and instead use water stored in the Maitai dam, to help remedy the water shortage in the Waimea catchment that is impacting on the region’s horticulture.

 “The City Council has the choice of accessing our town water supply from either the Roding River or the Maitai Dam. Even though the Maitai Dam is at near full capacity it has been choosing to use the Roding River supply as it requires less treatment. The problem is that the Roding flows into the Lee, then the Wairau and the Waimea system, and every litre taken is a litre less that can be used for maintaining our horticultural industries on the Waimea Plains,” Dr Smith says.

 “I acknowledge the Nelson City Council does have the legal right to take all the water in the Roding down to 100 litres per second for their town supply. I am requesting though that they take a regional perspective in this particularly dry year, leave as much water as possible in the Roding and use the ample storage in the Maitai to maintain Nelson’s town supply. The ideal would be to suspend any future takes from the Roding until the dry conditions on the Waimea subside.

 Dr Smith said he had discussed the issue with Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese and Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne and was facilitating a meeting this Friday between the Councils and officials.

 “We do not know how serious this year’s dry is going to be but if we do not get rain in the next few weeks, we will be in drought conditions. Water takes on the Waimea Plains have already been reduced from level one cuts of 20 per cent to level two cuts of 35 per cent this week. They are likely to be cut to level three and 50 per cent in the next fortnight without rain. We need to take a precautionary approach in the interim and use the region’s water resources as wisely as possible,” Dr Smith says.

 “This dry year is highlighting the need for both Nelson and Tasman to have water storage. I remain a strong supporter of the Tasman Council’s Waimea Community Dam and I am working to help secure Government funding to enable it to proceed. However, in the meantime we need to use our existing resources as collectively as possible to try and get through this season as best we can.”

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