Edendale groundwater levels concern

6/4/18

The Edendale aquifer is showing its lowest level on record since Environment Southland started monitoring it in 2001.

Of the 15 aquifers monitored by Environment Southland, eight have levels within the range normally measured at this time of year, and two have levels above normal. Five of the deeper aquifers, which are reliant on rainfall to recharge, are still at levels below normal.

“Most of the region’s aquifers have responded well to the recent rain, however the Edendale aquifer is still suffering the effects of the low rainfall at the start of the year, with continuing declines occurring,” Environment Southland director of science and information Graham Sevicke-Jones said.

The council received a number of enquiries by people in Edendale whose bores had dried up as a result, prompting it to launch an investigation into the matter.

“We’re currently working with people and businesses in the area that are affected. The council is investigating the effect of the low aquifer level and the recovery of the aquifer,” Graham said.

Checks have been carried out to ensure that consent holders in the area aren’t breaching their consent conditions.

Scientists at this stage are unsure if the aquifer will fully recover over winter. The winter period is the time when Southland’s aquifers typically recharge.

Rainfall monitoring sites at the Lumsden Cableway, Three Kings, Hyde Rock, Glenlapa and Lynwood recorded over 30% more rainfall than past averages for the past three months. However there were still several sites, mostly in eastern Southland, that received less rainfall than normal so far this year.

The Waihopai River at Kennington is currently at a low flow that typically only occurs once every 3.9 years, which highlights the river’s strong relationship with the Edendale aquifer.

Those farmers that are affected by the low groundwater levels should contact the Southland Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 if they have concerns, or need someone to talk to.

Environment Southland continues to monitor the situation closely.

For up-to-date river and groundwater levels along with more information, visit www.es.govt.nz/low-water-levels

Page reviewed: 06 Apr 2018 4:46pm