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Hamilton City Council’s City Waters Manager Maire Porter said low levels in Lake Taupo levels give rise to concerns for all towns, including Hamilton, who take water from the Waikato River.
“While Hamilton city has a resource consent to take water from the river, this is not an unlimited supply. Additionally, if Waikato River levels drop significantly due to low levels in Lake Taupo, it could limit how much water we can physically take from the river during summer this year.”
Mercury has recently been managing storage in Lake Taupo to maintain river levels in response to the seasonally lower than normal levels at Lake Taupo. Mercury’s commercial advisor, Larnie Chrystall said the past 12 months have been the driest on record leading to reduced inflows into the lake.
“In the last 12 months, we have not had one month with above average rainfall. The wettest month in terms of percentile inflows was October 2020, where we received 30th percentile inflows,” Chrystall said.
“The last 12 months – November 2019 to October 2020 – were the driest we have on record for that timeframe.”
Waipa District Council Water Services Manager Martin Mould said the district is also feeling the impacts of the severe meteorological drought.
“Last year we had a particularly challenging year in Waipā, moving to Alert Level 4 for the first time ever in Te Awamutu, Pirongia and Ohaupo. With below normal rainfall this winter, our catchments haven’t fully recharged yet, so we will need to be mindful of this starting now.”
“NIWA has advised that we’re in for a hot and humid summer, and with Lake Taupo’s water levels being below normal for much of the winter period affecting the levels in the Waikato River and how much we can take for Cambridge and surrounds.”
“We need to be mindful that water is a precious resource that we need to value and use efficiently.”
Some tips on how to save water around the home can be found at smartwater.org.nz. Residents can also sign up to an e-newsletter which notifies when each area moves to a new alert level at smartwater.org.nz/subscribe.