Strictest water restrictions in 18 years come into force in parts of Tasman - 'We can't waste a drop'

Strict water restrictions have come into force in parts of Tasman today, as the region struggles through one of its driest summers in 18 years.

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Some growers are being asked to cut water use by 65 per cent. Source: 1 NEWS

The district experienced 65 per cent water rationing in 2001, which was described by Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne as "really difficult then and challenging".

"But it was in March, so it was at least a month further down than this year. This year, the restriction is a lot earlier," Mr Kempthorne told 1 NEWS.

Waimea Plains apple grower David Easton has turned off his sprinkler system and has switched to a precision drip line.

"We can't waste a drop of water. We've got to use everything as efficiently as we can," Mr Easton said.

"The trees have used up all the water reserves in the ground and they're really just living on the little bit of irrigation we're giving them and so the fruits are not sizing like it would in a normal year."

Most outdoor water use is currently banned in Richmond, Mapua, Ruby Bay, Hope, Brightwater and Wakefield. Businesses in these areas must reduce their water use by 25 per cent.

The Wooden Spoon Café owner Nicky Woodbury says she has always made a point to conserve water, but this year has ramped up efforts.

"Everywhere we can, we catch water and keep it for a purpose. All of our chiller exhausts, our coffee machine - all go onto the garden so that's stopped us using fresh water that we would have quite happily used before," Ms Woodbury said.

Leaving nothing to waste, the cafe is encouraging customers to follow suit.

"We get anywhere between eight and 15 full glasses of beautiful, untouched water left on tables every day. That's always been a bit of an issue, but I guess now it's impacting everyone quite dramatically, it's more of a concern," she said.

A bund has also been built across the lower Waimea River to stop saltwater getting upstream and contaminating water supplies – with an estimated 4.6-metre king tide due at the end of the week.

Without a break in restrictions, the drought could cost Tasman more than $100 million.

With the Tasman fire still burning in the hills, the region is hopeful forecast rain for the weekend will hold true.

If you live in Tasman, click here for more information on what the current restrictions mean for you.