Newsletters - Opuha Water Limited

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Newsletter – 19/06/2017

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It’s obviously all quiet on the irrigation front but there is still plenty of activity in our sphere of business – most especially to do with the Land & Water Regional Plan/Canterbury Water Management Strategy (LWRP/CWMS) which, in our Zone, is referred to as the Healthy Catchments Project. (HCP).
While we realise that some of you are directly involved in this process through your catchment group activities or may have attended the recent series of public meetings, we’ll provide an overview of the process and our view on that.
Nothing startling on the water storage situation (that’s good!) but we’ve got an update nonetheless.
Water metering is still on our agenda and we are expecting that everyone will be aware of the company’s policy requiring metering and telemetry for all takes over 5 l/s. By our reckoning, there are about 60 water users who don’t appear to have metering and telemetry information that we can access so we will be following up to ensure either you have plans in place or, alternatively that you would like us to manage the upgrade for you to ensure everyone has the right equipment installed for next season.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Newsletter – 18/03/2017

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Greeting to you all.  It seems, from our side of the ditch at least, that it has been a relatively good season for most of our shareholders with the weather providing good growing conditions and the lake storage levels remaining good enough to ensure a reliable irrigation supply when required.  We anticipate that for many of you, the very good rain in the middle of March may well signal the end of your irrigation for the season.

We’ve chosen to concentrate the majority of this newsletter to environmental management and in particular our activities under our own ‘Healthy Catchments Project’.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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adobe-pdf-logo20170307 Environmental Policy_FEP Audit Charging

Environment Canterbury is hosting two community meetings to share information about the effects of shallow groundwater takes on river flows (stream depletion) in the Opihi and Temuka catchments and Levels and Seadown Plains area.  The dates for these meetings are:

  • Monday 20th March (10am-11.30am) at the Geraldine Domain Pavilion
  • Wednesday 22nd March (6.30-8.00pm) at the Pleasant Point Rugby Club

Please download the flyer below for further information.

adobe-pdf-logoOTOP Stream depletion meetings advert March2017

 

 

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Newsletter – 20/12/2016

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What a difference 12 months can make? The common view around our farming region appears to be “it’s never looked better” and we are sitting on maximum storage in the lake as we approach Xmas. In 2014 we were at 41% storage and last year 66% and irrigating flat out. Current water orders equate to around 40% demand and that has only just kicked up after a quiet October and November (11% and 7% respectively). The commissioning of the upgrade to the downstream weir has had a significant impact on our lake storage regime with the additional confidence in maintaining the lake level at or above 100%.
In this newsletter I’ll update on our water storage with an optimistic outlook for the season ahead, and then provide updates on a number of current issues and initiatives including outcomes from our recent AGM, the downstream weir upgrade, our work programme around the Sub-Regional Plan process (ECan’s ‘Healthy Catchments Project’), water metering, water ordering, Board membership and staffing. There is also a notice and attached letter relating to use of private information.

NOTE: THIS NEWSLETTER HAS NO WATER RESTRICTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH IT!

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Update #1 – 29/09/2016

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To All Opuha Water Users 

Despite the very full lake (we are currently 103% full) there are still concerns about the overall conditions in the catchment – especially the low level of snow pack compared with normal conditions. Up until the light but widespread rain we have experienced over the last week, soil moisture conditions were also comparatively low. We have allowed the lake level to rise to its current very high level since we have completed the installation of the new spillway gates on the downstream weir.

We have met with the OEFRAG group and the consensus was that we are much better to take a conservative approach to the season and start with a low level of restriction in October in both the river and for irrigation use.

PLEASE PLAN YOUR WATER USE FOR OCTOBER ON THE BASIS THAT YOUR TOTAL USE WILL BE BELOW 75% ALLOCATION.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Newsletter – 25/07/2016

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We’ve just passed mid-year and this newsletter provides an update on our water storage situation which has had a real shot-in-the-arm from the nor’ west rain into the top of the catchment earlier this month. We’re now looking for some decent snowfall to provide us with the reserve and confidence we need to start the next season.

The newsletter also contains some advice on meetings with various shareholder groups over the next few weeks, an update on the budget and water charges for this year and there are a number of water share parcels that are being put up for sale and lease.

Work on the upgrade of the Downstream Weir has continued to move along and there is a brief update on this project included.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Environmental Management Update – 11/07/2016

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There has been a lot going on in the environmental arena recently – at a regional policy level, as well as a local scheme level. 

In this newsletter we would like to update you on these matters as they will impact you all – for some this impact will be immediate, for others it will be in the longer term.  It can sometimes be easy to ‘keep your head down and hope it blows over’ when it comes to environmental regulation, but the bottom-line is it will affect everyone.  We therefore encourage you to please read the newsletter carefully and consider what this means to your farming operation, and what your next move needs to be.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Newsletter – 19/05/2016

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It has been a while since our last communication in mid-March when we were advising of the need for some interim restrictions to limit the lake drawdown.

Since that time we’ve seen a continuation of dry and warm conditions which have resulted in reduced lake inflows and calls from a few irrigators for some water to irrigate – very unusual to see those conditions in May!  As I write this, it looks like we might be in for a bit of a lashing over the weekend which I expect will make it feel more like autumn/winter.

In this newsletter, I will update on the conditions up at the lake as our irrigation season concludes and also introduce some very important water policies that have been signed off on by the Board.  Work has started up at the dam site on the upgrade of the Downstream Weir and there is an update on this project included.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Notice #10 – 11/03/2016

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We have approval to reduce the river flows back from the prescribed March and April flows but we are also looking for some reductions in irrigation use with the 25% restriction.  We are going to operate this again on a volumetric basis over the remaining three weeks of March with rolling fortnightly reviews.

I realise this is at odds with the advice that I gave at the beginning of February when it did look like there was sufficient storage.  The inflows dropped dramatically around the whole catchment at the end of February and into March so that we are now releasing significantly more than anticipated to maintain flows and irrigation supplies.  The catchment inflows are now less than for the same period last year.

All irrigators are to please plan their water use to limit their takes to a 75% allocation for the three weeks to the end of March.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
160311 Water Restriction Notice 10

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Water Restrictions Notice #9 – 03/02/2016

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WATER RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

The rain events in January have had a significant (positive!) impact on the lake storage and we have now lifted all restrictions on irrigation and river flows.

Although we will continue to monitor conditions closely, we are reasonably confident that we will now be able to maintain full irrigation supply and river flows for the remainder of the season.  This is the first time since December 2014 that we have not been operating with some constraint on either irrigation supply or river flows – great news and a very surprising turnaround from our position at New Year.

We have included some additional important information in the attached notice, including an update on the appointment of a new Chairman for the Opuha Board that was decided on Tuesday.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
160204 Water Restriction Notice 9

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Water Restrictions Notice #8 – 21/01/2016

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Shareholders and Irrigators
The rain events we have had in January, but in particular the high rainfall on the 19th, had a very positive impact on the lake storage.  We are now very confident of our ability to be able to maintain continuous supply through to the end of the season but we are taking a precautionary approach at this stage as far as lifting restrictions altogether.

Irrigators should aniticpate resuming initially on a 75% allocation but can be confident that this is the highest level of restriction we should need to get through the season.  We will review this regularly with a view to easing restrictions as soon and as far as we can.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Notice #7 – 24/12/2015

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Shareholders and Irrigators
As we had signalled in our previous update, we have moved to a 50% restriction regime effective from 23rd December – we anticipate this regime may need to remain in place right through January.  

Despite the rain on the 16th and 17th which saw 20mm-30mm across the catchment, the drawdown on the lake is still significantly higher than last season as we would be quickly using up the buffer in lake storage we have been able to establish through the earlier restrictions and reduced river flows we have implemented this season.  The 50% restriction regime will be on a volumetric basis which seems to be providing better flexibility to many of our irrigators.

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Water Restrictions from 23/12/2015

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Shareholders and Irrigators

At the last update we advised that we were anticipating the need to move to a 50% regime from 23rd December.  This note is to confirm that we will be implementing this new restriction and we would expect all users below the dam to be on a 50% regime by 6pm on Wednesday 23rd December 2015.  The rain last week provided some reprieve – both to farmers and to the lake – but inflows are still around 20% below last December and water use is higher so we are using the lake storage at a greater rate than last season.

Attached is a summary report which has been prepared for tomorrow’s OEFRAG meeting – for your information.

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151221 OEFRAG Update

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Water Restrictions Notice #6 – 11/12/2015

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Shareholders and Irrigators
Please refer to the attached Water Restriction Notice which outlines our expectation that we will move to a 50% regime in the week before Xmas – most likely 23rd December.
Conditions have deteriorated with inflows especially dropping of dramatically.  While we have been able to establish a buffer in the lake storage compared with last season, we are now drawing down the storage at a greater rate than this time last season. If we are to improve the likelihood of maintaining some level of continuous supply through the season, we regrettable believe we need to move to 50% earlier than the New Year.  We will confirm this at the start of the Xmas week, but we would need a substantial rain to postpone the need for this next level of restriction.

adobe-pdf-logoTo read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Notice #5 – 01/12/2015

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We have been operating through November with an irrigation allocation based on 75% of monthly volume for below dam users.  Out final assessment is that total irrigation use averaged 70% for the month which is a good outcome and the intention is to continue on into December with the same constraint – ie. all users below dam should base their monthly water use on using no more than 75% of their volumetric entitlement.

We do need to signal now though, that we believe it is highly likely we will be operating on a 50% allocation regime from the start of the New Year.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo151201 Water Restriction Notice 5

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Water Restrictions Notice #4 – 20/11/2015

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Shareholders/Irrigators – Please refer to the attached Water Restriction Notice.  We are running very close to our 75% limit on a month to date basis and the recent increase in irrigation use suggests that there is a need for some restraint to conserve the storage.  The notice outlines that already it is evident that the catchment inflows are less than last year and that we will need to continue to restrict water use if we are to avoid a full cessation in supply as occurred last year.

We have sent out notices today to individual irrigators who, based on our water order information, will need to wind back significantly to remain within the 75% cap.  It is important to note that for the majority of our irrigators we actually RELEASE water from the dam based on the water orders – so it is essential that your water order reflects intended use. As is our long standing policy – if you have ordered it, you are deemed to have used it.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo151120 Water Restriction Notice 4

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Water Restrictions Notice #3 – 29/10/2015

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Since we lifted water restrictions two weeks ago, the irrigation demand and water use have skyrocketed to a peak level only exceeded one other time in the previous three seasons.  We realise that conditions have been dry around the scheme and there is a lot of concern about the season ahead, however I feel we need to implement a level of restriction if we are to stay on track with our objective of maintaining supply right through the season.

For the month of November, irrigators are required to moderate their water use to use less than 75% of their volumetric allocation for the month.  

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Notice #2 – 12/10/2015

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OEFRAG met on 12th October and there was agreement to lift all irrigation restrictions for the next (fortnight) period. This takes effect immediately. The minimum river flow required has been lifted slightly to 7 cumecs (a reduction of 1.5 cumecs on the ORRP minimum).

Given that conditions do vary somewhat around the scheme and depending on individual land type and land use, we are not expecting all our irrigators to be going to 100% irrigation but I would expect everyone will be doing what is necessary to maintain soil moisture levels and to ensure the best opportunity is taken of the current favourable growing conditions. We do still expect a very ‘tight’ year and we will continue to review conditions and any restrictions on a regular basis.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restrictions Notice #1 – 01/10/2015

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As I have indicated in recent newsletters, we are taking a very pre-cautionary approach to managing the water storage this season and we expect to operate under a ‘managed regime’ at least for the early part of the season when we have more potential for greater savings overall with less impact on irrigators.

Consistent with that message, we are seeking the cooperation of all our irrigators in managing their water use at this time.  We will be attempting to keep up with the conditions around the region, both on-farm and in-river and adjusting our position accordingly to account for changing conditions and requirements.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Newsletter – September 2015

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We have started the irrigation season (1st September) but, as with most years, we are not anticipating any real irrigation demand this month. I will explain in this newsletter how we intend to manage the storage and irrigation requirements at this early part of the season – no surprise to most of you that we will be taking a very precautionary approach.

In this newsletter I will provide updates on the lake storage, the start of the irrigation season and the progress with the investigations into the contaminant claims. I cover a few things that are happening up at the dam – current work and our plans for next year.
We have an opportunity for some irrigation management training for those who have not done this very successful course previously and we’re also in the market for an Operations and Asset Manager – see overleaf for details.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo150915 September 2015 Newsletter

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Newsletter – August 2015

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The Board of Opuha Water and I believe it is appropriate to resume more regular update to our shareholders as we approach spring and the new irrigation season. As well as the newsletters, we will be posting regular updates on our website where you will be able to see the lake level and also our estimates of relative snowpack in the upper catchment.  I will aim to provide regular newsletters to report primarily on water storage and our outlook for the season ahead and also update on other relevant matters.

In this newsletter, you will find updates on:
1. The current water storage situation
2. Discussions with ECan about sediment sampling protocols
3. Our usual round-up of Operations and Environmental activities, shares available and other news
4. Our recent Infrastructure Group meetings
5. Some further shareholder feedback meetings proposed for this month

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo150814 – Newsletter – August 2015

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Newsletter – June 2015

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It has been a while since our last newsletter and this is the first update to you all since we came out of the unprecedented dry summer conditions that, for the first time, saw the lake empty and irrigation cut-off in February.
As I’m writing this, the winter storm and snow is just arriving, so I hope that doesn’t cause any major problems for you all – it’s water in the bank at least!.

In this issue, I will update you on the lake storage situation and also on what we are doing to improve our ability to manage our limited storage should we be faced with another extreme dry summer.
I will also update on a number of operational issues including the major maintenance work at the power station, introduce some of the policy development work we have underway and look ahead at our programme for Farm Environment Plans and some upcoming shareholder meetings.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo20150618 –  Newsletter – June 2015

Water Restriction Update #11 – 24/03/2015

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Shareholders –
Please find attached a bit of an epistle disguised as a Water Restrictions update. I’ve had to flag my objective of no more than two pages as, in this edition, I offer a bit of reflection on the season so far and in particular the ‘management’ of the lake storage. As with most things, hindsight is a wonderful thing and, with that benefit, I identify a couple of key aspects that may have seen us able to extend the season by several weeks. Bottom line remains however – that without reasonable inflows through the summer season, our lake storage will not be able to provide 100% supply for a full season. The extended bottom line is that this has been an extraordinarily dry year.

It’s four weeks now since we shut off irrigation supply and since that time we have seen the lake continue to fall to within 50mm of zero before a series of small rain fronts resulted in, for the first time in 174 days, the lake actually increasing. We’ve crept up two metres but that only puts us at 3% storage. Our historical average for March is 76%.

We are endeavouring to provide another ‘round’ of irrigation (8-10 days under a 50% restriction regime) before soil temperatures drop too far and at present we are looking at the week after Easter. This is reliant on some further rain over the next two weeks to bolster the lake storage to around 10%. I would ask you all to please consider this in your planning and be prepared to respond to us of your requirements should we be in a position to resume irrigation.

Fairlie Lions have organised a social event for everyone this Friday 4pm at the Mackenzie Rugby Grounds – a great opportunity to get together for a fun and relaxing break. I would encourage you all to try and get along.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restriction Update #10 – 23/02/2015

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Please plan to shut off your irrigation systems this Wednesday.  We have reached the bottom of the bucket. By Wednesday the lake will be at 371m with a little under 1.5% storage remaining. 

As part of the agreement to reduce the minimum river flows in early February, we will cease irrigation and the last remaining storage will be used to try and keep the river flowing for the next 10 -12 days.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restriction Update #9 – 13/02/2015

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We are unfortunately looking very likely to reach the limit of our water storage where we are going to have to shut down all irrigation.  
We are now updating our website with the expected day for shut down which is, at the moment, 25th February.
If we are able to realise any savings through rain/inflows or reduced demand, this date may be able to be extended.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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20150213 – Water Restriction Notice #9 – February 2015

Water Restriction Update #8 – 04/02/2015

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There have been hints of rain around the region over the last 5 days which lifted river flows slightly and gave us perhaps a couple of days relief in the lake as we were able to back off the releases for a while.

We have agreed on a revised operating regime which has reduced the minimum flow we are supporting in the river but we are still looking at the high likelihood of having to shut down irrigation around 23rd February.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
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Water Restriction Update #7 – 27/01/2015

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It will be painfully apparent to you all that there has been no relief from the weather over the last three weeks and our lake storage situation has become very precarious as a result.

We have reviewed our storage predictions and have brought forward our estimation of when we will be faced with tighter restrictions and potentially no supply.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo20150127 – Water Restriction Notice #7 – January 2015

Water Restriction Update #5 – 21/12/2014

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We appear to have had a short lived but reasonable rain through the catchment on Sunday 21st.  
At this stage though we do not expect this will have sufficient impact at the dam to defer us from continuing with our water saving regime.

The rain will hopefully at least provided some relief on the farm and enable irrigators to recover or maintain their soil moisture levels under the irrigation restrictions.  

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo20141221 – Water Restriction Notice #5 – December 2014

Water Restriction Update #4 – 50% from 16 Dec 2014

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The storage has continued to decline and 50% restrictions are to be implemented from Tuesday 16th December for two weeks.  
Please now be prepared to implement a 50% restriction regime on your property.  

Refer to the attached newsletter on the current water storage situation.

To read this newsletter, please download the PDF version here:
adobe-pdf-logo20141211 – Water Restriction Update #4 – December 2014