Could the grass be greener on the other side?

Brown grass raises concerns around irrigation

Questions over grass maintenance and irrigation have been raised by concerned locals that have spotted browning grass despite the cold summer start. The grass in question is some of Wānaka’s most popular, such as the Lakefront from Dungarvon to Macdougall Street, as well as Pembroke Park from Aspiring Road to Brownston Street.

Resident Neville Harris claims this is a recurring issue and said, “This happens every year. Council appears unable to manage this area properly as the grass is starting to brown off, I wonder what excuse they have this year?” Harris has communicated to Council about this issue but they reportedly “have come up with all sorts of excuses, including broken sprinkler heads and having used up ORC water permit.” In Harris’s opinion, the browning grass boils down to “poor management.” 

Queenstown Lakes District Council claimed that despite the regular rain that Wānaka has experienced, that this type of grass situation is “common at this time of year” and is no cause for concern. The irrigation is currently running at capacity “however, due to time restrictions, the area to be irrigated, and the soil composition, it is not possible to keep the grass green over the hottest months,” a QLDC spokesperson says. 

When there is more ground moisture, the grass will recover. “This is part of living in Central Otago: it is not sustainable for us to be fighting against nature and trying to keep everything green all the time” said council.


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