Winegrowers making do during Gisborne outdoor water ban

City of Gisborne, New Zealand
Photo credit: Getty

A major leak in the main Gisborne water supply has led to a total ban on outdoor water use, but it's yet to drastically affect local winegrowers.

On Thursday, the Gisborne District Council issued an urgent ban on outdoor water use after a leak put pressure on reservoirs - meaning no washing your car, watering your garden or filling swimming pools.

The council said if the ban was not obeyed, the city may not have enough water to meet demand.

Local winegrowers are dependent on water for their business, but Winegrowers Society chairperson Annie Milton said they're so far coping in the dry conditions.

"It's dry, the grapes are looking pretty good... [there is a] great development of fruit ripeness," said Ms Milton. "There is a lot of underneath soil moisture".

The council said industrial water users are being told they must put their water shortage contingency plans into effect immediately.

Ms Milton said it showed how helpful not relying on irrigators was for businesses like them.

"When you actually have a place where you grow grapes, and all those places, it is very important that you are quite sufficient," she said.

On Thursday night, the council said it believed a joint fitting was the possible source of the leak and had contractors and staff on site investigating the cause and potential fixes.

The council is not sure how long the outdoor ban will be in place, but only has two days left of water.

Water from the Waipaoa Plant will supplement the supply on Friday morning, but is "harder", meaning it has a higher mineral content. Residents may notice a difference in taste.


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