Pressure goes on wells

Climate rather than surrounding irrigation has been identified by Environment Canterbury as having the largest impact on the township’s water supply. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

Dry winter weather is continuing to put pressure on West Melton’s water wells.

The Concerned Well-Owners Group West Melton, made up of about 20 residents, met at the township’s community centre last week to address concerns on what can be done to stop wells from drying up in the township.

About 50 residents have raised concerns with the group previously with about 10 per cent having a dry well.

Climate rather than surrounding irrigation has been identified by Environment Canterbury as having the largest impact on the township’s water supply.

In August, it was reported parts of Canterbury including West Melton were in the worst drought since the 1980s with 86 per cent of water bores across the region affected.

While West Melton’s groundwater levels are no longer at record lows, ECan estimates they are still sit at a low level.

The group’s chairman Peter Thomson said while he accepted the weather had the largest impact, it was still difficult to see so many irrigators in the area.

An affected resident himself, Mr Thomson has been carting water from a 11,000 litre holding tank situated in Yaldhurst for the past five months after his West Melton property well went dry.

He is likely to be faced with paying about $30,000 or more depending on how much deeper his well needs to be drilled.

“The main thing is not everyone was aware of the problem . . . we wanted to know how it happened, why it happened and what we could do about it,” he said.

Another meeting was held with residents, ECan and the district council on June 19.

ECan provided information on climate-induced variations in ground levels while the district council provided an overview of the water supply.

ECan’s groundwater science manager Carl Hanson said the township has not been getting the rainfall needed.

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