Topic: Drought ( The Big Dry) Summer of 2012-2013 by HJP

topic type:

The Drought gripping both the North and South Island of New Zealand has been labelled the most severe in history. Following are some of the reports about what's happening around New Zealand during the drought.

                                              North Island drought worst in history
       KIRSTY JOHNSTON    10/03/2013

 

        Drought gripping the North Island is the most severe in history, with the crisis far from over both for now and in years
    to come, scientists say.

    Long, dry spells are forecast to double by 2040 as temperatures continue to rise and New Zealand heads towards a more Mediterranean climate.
    Experts warn it could spell the end for farming as we know it and may cost the country billions of dollars in drought relief each year before
    practices
 are adjusted.

        "This is historic," said climate scientist Jim Salinger, who has calculated that the amount of rain needed for grass growth was the highest since
    records began. "It's like comparing your income against expenditure in your cheque book. And we are in deficit."

        Drought was declared last week in Northland, South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Hawke's Bay, meaning extra government
    funding is
 available for hardship.
    Another two regions, Manawatu and Rangitikei, have asked the Government to declare a state of drought in their regions, which could come as early
    as Wednesday.

       Yesterday, a near total fire ban was declared across the North Island, also for the first time. It was equally dry in parts of the south, though it is
    forecast to rain lightly in Canterbury this week.
        Hokitika cattle farmer Kees van Beek said if the dry weather continued on the West Coast for another fortnight, things would become "fairly
     desperate".
  Van Beek, who has farmed in the area for more than 40 years, said while there were some very dry summers back in the 1970s, this
   summer was "as dry if not drier".
        H
is property had seen just 8mm of rain in the last 30 days. "We normally average 11 mm per day throughout the year."  In the heartland of the
    Canterbury plains, they are used to big dry summers.
        "Hot dry weather is actually quite good for growing grass," said dairy farmer James Bourke in Culverden. Then comes the laconic kicker. "When
    there's  water. t's just that when there's no water it's not so good.
        "The river levels are so low and the ground water is quite low, so even irrigation is starting to disappear. The Waiau is still good. There's reasonable
   flow and it's not on restriction.
        "The other half of Culverden is using the Hurunui irrigation scheme and they have no irrigation because of restrictions and the grass is burning off
   because it's so dry.
    "They're going through a lot of supplement. The price of supplement is going up and palm kernels are getting expensive."  In Cheviot, Hamish Haugh
   runs sheep. While it was drier than what he would like to be, it was not yet a drought. Not yet.
        His eyes are on the horizon though, hunting for rain clouds. He wants some rain in the next 10 days. "In Canterbury we're generally used to having
     droughts more often. We have a significantly dry year one out of five.
     
 "We are always conservative with our stock numbers and we always keep supplements on hand."

        Salinger said the regional spread of the drought was more extensive than in any of the past 70 years, taking in most of the North Island.
    Severity of drought is measured by potential soil moisture deficit - the amount of water that would be required to keep pastures topped up with
    moisture for grass growth.
    Already, the North Island requires 362mm of rain to keep the grass growing. Previously, the highest record rainfall needed was in the summer of
   1945-46 when the deficit was 361mm.
       Salinger's calculation sits alongside data released by Niwa last week showing that drought will only become more intense and more frequent in
   the next 30 years.

    Graham Bagerie

       Farmers feeling bite as stockfeed crunch looms  
 By KELVIN TEIXEIRA 
Horowhenua farmers are feeling the pressure from increasingly dry conditions with no rain in a month.
   Waitarere farmer and contrac­tor Graeme Bagrie said the situ­ation is getting worse each day.
   Mr Bagrie said Horowhenua has been more fortunate than most otherNorth Island districts, helped by good rainfall during spring and summer. "But don't get me wrong,
it's certainly starting to bite now.
"We can stand a dry February and March, but the biggest danger now is if the dry spell goes on for another month when it will be cold as well as dry, we won't get the autumn growth we need."
   Mr. Bagrie said their food crops had fared well. "Our turnips and other summer crops, as well as our maize, has grown well and as long as we har­vest before they get too
dry, we'll be OK."
    He said dairy farmers' stock conditions remained reasonably healthy. "But how long do farmers keep on feeding stock supplements before they decide to dry off for the season. It's real wait and see, but we're getting to the crunch time."
Mr. Bagrie said farmers desper­ately need several falls of at least 30 millilitres of rain. "When you get only 5ml, it's gone again the next day."

    Poroutawhao sharemilker Grant Lovelock agreed, saying a "good dollop" and
then one inch of rain every week for the next month would be ideal.
"We weren't here during the 2003 drought. We came here in 2006 but now is
certainly the driest we've had it by far, for sure," he said. 
"It certainly makes things
a lot harder. The bulk of our days are spent providing feed 
for the cows -palm kernel, baleage, turnips, whatever. The cows actually quite like it - a bit of variety for them."

Mr. Lovelock admitted next season's productivity was a con­cern. "The cows' condition now affects how we do next season."

A state of drought has already been officially declared in theSouth Auckland,Waikato includ­ing Coromandel and Taupo, Bayof Plenty and HawkesBay regions.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said this is recog­nition that farmers across the North Island are facing extremely difficult conditions.
"Farmers badly need some rain­fall during March and April to help prepare for the
winter and set up for next spring." 
Mr Guy said declaring a state of drought, also known as a medium-scale adverse event, means that extra Government funding will be available to Rural Support Trusts.

   "These organisations work clo­sely with farmers, providing sup­port and guidance in what is a very tough time," Mr Guy said.  "I realise these can be stressful times for
rural families, and they need to know who to turn to for support."

   Federated Farmers provincial president Andrew Hoggard said the Rangitikei and Manawatu regions, including Horowhenua, were in a bad way and he expec­ted a formal declaration of drought for the regions to be declared within a week.
Mr. Hoggard said a Rural Assistance Payment is only for farmers who have "no
income, no savings and literally no means to buy a loaf of bread”.
 

Drought at Carl Knight's Rangitikei property - December 2012 compared to now..

 Photo taken in December 2012 of Mr. Carl Knights property in the Rangitikei.
Plenty of lush green grass. 
                                     
                                     ===============

Drought at Carl Knight's Rangitikei property - March 2013

 Photo taken in the same location March 2013 of Mr. Carl Knights property in the Rangitikei. Ground is vertually baron with no food for the Stock.

                                       ===============

       Battling the big dry. Rangitikei hill country 
   Battling the Big Dry,  Rangitiekei Hill Country farmer, Mr. William Morrison 

 

 Dried up water courses happening in many areas

Drought worst since 1940s
by henryphillips

Drought - worst since 1940s

By: Jacqui Stanford | New Zealand News | Sunday March 24 2013 6:27

 

The drought is now the worst the country has suffered since the 1940s.

NIWA says conditions are already more severe than the big North Island drought in 2008.

Climate scientist Dr Brett Mullan says in the worst hit parts of the North Island, the current drought is comparable with one back in 1946.

NIWA is expecting things to eventually get back to normal, but says it might not happen in the next three months.

Photo: NZ Herald

 

 From the Beehive. Reported in the Horowhenua Chronicle Friday March 8  2013

 

                Dry conditions tough for farmers

with NATHAN GUY, OtakiMP

    It's certainly been a busy few weeks for me, both locally and as the Minister for Primary Industries. I've been visiting many different places around the country as well as my usual duties as local MP.

    On Wednesday last week I announced an official drought in Northland. Other parts of the country are likely to ask for assistance this week. This means that the Government can now offer help to farmers by coordinating support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases*. there will also be rural assistance payments available to farmers in severe hardship.

  Dry conditiond tough for farmers nathan guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           

 Nathan Guy MP for Otaki  
                     Dry conditions tough for farmers
 

Browned - off pastures in Hawkes bay
 
        Browned off pastures in the Hawkes Bay area 

 


Dave McGaveston does not mince words. It is, he says, his worst season in 40 years of farming..  

Dave McGaveston does not mince words. It is, he says, his worst season in 40 years of farming.

Drought declaration good news for farmers

   Last updated 15/03/2013  A state of drought has been officially declared throughout the entire NorthIsland.

   This will be good news for Horowhenua farmers feeling the pressure of how to feed stock and manage crops with no rain to help pasture growth.

   Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said organisations throughout the Manawatu, Taranaki, Wairarapa and Wellington regions, including Federated Farmers, had asked for regional declarations of drought during the past week.

   "It has become clear that nearly all farmers in every part of the North Island are facing very difficult dry conditions."

   Foxton dairy farmer John Davis said if the costs of transporting feed up from the South Island could be covered, it would be a big help.

   "Here in the Horowhenua we haven't done too bad, but the situation is looking grim," he said.

   "In terms of rain, there's not much we can do, but if we get only a sprinkle of rain this weekend and then it gets hot and dry again we'll be no better off."

   Mr Davis said Horowhenua was more fortunate than other North Island areas, receiving good rainfall during late spring and early summer.

   "Production was the best it's been - but the situation has gone backwards very smartly. But that's just sometimes the way it is in farming."

   Mr Guy said declaring drought status meant extra Government funding will now be available to Rural Support Trusts which work closely with farmers to provide support and guidance.

   There will also be rural assistance payments available from Work and Income, which are equivalent to the unemployment benefit and available to those in extreme hardship.

   "Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available," Mr Guy said.

   "Some rain is forecast this weekend which is welcome news. However we will need more than this to help prepare for the winter and set up for next spring."

   Mr Guy said parts of the South Island were also very dry, in particular the Grey and Buller districts, and he would keep a close watch on these.

   He said farmers should contact their accountants or the IRD for help or flexibility with tax payments, while standard hardship assistance was available from Work and Income.

- Horowhenua Mail

 
                Drought crisis deepens

CHRIS HYDE      Last updated1  6/03/2013

He said his trip to Latin American had no impact on the timing of his announcement.

Manawatu and Rangitikei are now in the grips of the worst drought in a lifetime and the government's official declaration should have come sooner for the region, farmers say.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced yesterday on a farm in Kimbolton that the entireNorthIslandwould be made a drought zone. But farmers say Manawatu and Rangitikei hill country is drier than manyNorth Islandareas now officially declared in drought and the announcement took too long to come.

Manawatu/Rangitikei meat and fibre chairman Fraser Gordon, who has been farming since the 1970s, said the dry conditions were the worst in his lifetime.

"We should have been called three weeks ago. To me, it's the biggest drought since 1947,"

He said the full effects of the drought would be felt when frosts hit in six weeks' time if rain had not moistened the parched ground.

"Once we get to that point there's going to be some serious health issues - for stock and for farmers.

"It's those younger farmers that I'm really worried about. Wthey only started out last year I can't see how they can get through this crisis."

The timing and widespread nature of the announcement surprised Manawatu/Rangitikei dairy chairman James Stewart.

Mr Stewart said he had thought the official drought declaration would come before Mr Guy had returned from his trip to Latin American.

Instead, yesterday's declaration had painted Manawatu as being in the same state as areas like Horowhenua, which he said was catching up fast, but probably not in drought yet.

"All we really want is rain. Drought declaration is fine but without rain it won't make a lot of difference."

Mr Guy defended his decision to declare Manawatu a drought zone at the same time as the rest of theNorth Island.

"I flew down fromAuckland[yesterday] morning and I spent most of my time looking out the window. It's dry everywhere."

"This is a serious event but we have to remember, farmers are tough, farmers are resilient, they have battled through drought and snowstorms and all sorts before and they will get through this."

Weather statistics show that a dry finish to March will put 2013 into the record books as one of the driest, sunniest and warmest on record.

The dry weather has not just affected farmers. The Turitea dam level has dropped to 3.09 metres below capacity, giving the city 38 days' water storage before it becomes bore-dependent. Palmerston North City Council staff are not expecting the chance of rain on Sunday to relieve the
city’s water shortage, and level 2 hosing restrictions remain in place, allowing hand held garden
hosing only on alternate days on alternate sides of the street between7pm and9pm.

Data showed some of the region’s rivers had dropped to their lowest levels In over 30 years with
Makakahi Stream near Eketahuna at its lowest since records began in 1979 and the Whanganui
River in parts at a 35 – year low.
Fairfax NZ News

 Drought in the Waikato  

                                     Drought in the Waikato

      Wellinton's water supply now at " Crisis " Level

12/3/2013

The Wellington region's water supply is at ' crisis ' level, while even the tipically wet West coast is experiencing a big dry as New Zealand's summer drought extends further. While much of the North Island has been declared to be in driought by the Government, 20 days of water is about all that's left for the people of Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua if the heavens do not open soon, according to Nigel Wison, who chairs the  committee in charge of the water supply.

The region has had no significant rain since February 4th, while Wellington City has not had a drop for a month.

 

From paper past. ( This extract from the Thames Star
dated 8 th January 1908.)
Drought in Wellington,   Dismal forebodings.
( Per united Press Association) 

Wellington, January 8
    The continued absence of rain has wrought great destuction on crops and pastures on light soils. Some apprehension is beginning to be felt about autum feed. It is feared that the stock may be rushed on the market, thus causing a further drop in value. 

    Fire ban blankets sizzling lower North Island

8-3-2013 
   A total fire ban has been placed over the lower North Island for the first time in recorded history., the dry weather continues to bite. Palmerston North City and Tararua District started total fire bans earlier this week. Manawatu, Rangitikei and Horowhenua Districts were to follow suit at midday today.  

 

 Friesian cows with not much to eat

Friesian cows with not much to eat, pastures have dried up due to lack of rain 

"Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available," Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said.

The ministry, Beef + Lamb NZ and Dairy NZ are among those providing support to farmers. THE BARE FACTS

UV levels: UV levels in February and March have been up 20 per cent from normal. Sunscreen sales jumped by at least 30 per cent from December.

Cool relief: Icecream and ice block sales are up at least seven per cent from last summer.

Tomatoes: The hot weather has contributed to a bumper crop of quality tomatoes, which are retailing around $2 a kilo.

Sports: The winter sports season could be delayed in parts of the North Island due to dry fields, impacting rugby, league and football.

Butterflies: Insects are struggling to find water but none so much as the monarch butterfly, which relies solely on domestic swan plants.

Birds: Kiwi and other native birds are struggling to find food and water in parts of the country, with younger birds at risk of starvation.

Rained off: Womad festival-goers were rained on in New Plymouth yesterday, and a primary school cricket game was called off.

- © Fairfax NZ News

             The ongoing drought has contributed to a rise in dairy prices..  

 

 

 

Keeping on top of things


KEEPING ON TOP OF THINGS It’s important that you go and talk with others so you know your head’s in the right place says Oxford dairy farmer Harry Meijer.

Lost autumn likely to add more misery

Mr John Booths farm, Glastone Wairarapa  15-3-2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as the Horowhenua farmers having a tough time with the drought.

Over the Tararua ranges the farmers in the Wairarapa are equally suffering. As illustrated above on Mr. John Booths farm.
 
   Things are not looking good on John Booth's farm in Gladstone, Wairarapa, but he's trying to stay philosophical. "That's farming, isn't it, you can only do what you can do," he said. "You just have to tough it out, and remember that every day that goes by is one closer to rain." The sixth-generation farmer, who is also a Carterton district councillor, said he was lucky he still had limited irrigation. But others were getting low on drinking water for stock.     

    "Some of the hill country farmers around here are really struggling for water.. .If you run out of water, that's catastrophic." Conditions were "heading to be worse" than the drought of 2007-08.

 

         Lost autumn likely to add more misery 

SEAMUS BOYER WAIRARAPA
   FIRST there was no spring, now it's looking like there might not be an autumn.
   Farmers faced with a looming drought crisis are bracing for a tough winter, with poor autumn growth conditions expected to re­place the brutal summer.
   With half the North Island al­ready in drought, much of the rest is likely to follow officially today.
   Some Wairarapa farmers are inching closer to the "cata­strophic" scenario of running out of stock drinking water.
   Gladstone dairy farmer John Rose, who has been farming for 50 years, said it was "hard to recall [a drought] like this".
   "This one is particularly bad because we didn't have a spring, and now we might go straight into winter. The biggest concern is how are we going to winter our cows if we've used up all our sup­plements and the grass is still brown."
   Mr Rose had reduced*his herd from 550 to 440 - "the bare mini­mum" before he started getting rid of capital stock, he said.
   Labour leader David Shearer toured Mr Rose's dairy farm yes­terday to offer "solidarity" to struggling farmers.
   "The farmers are clearly facing a real squeeze," Mr Shearer said. "Their incomes are not only down now but they will be in the future, because this is going to have an impact throughout the year and beyond."
   The effect on the wider rural communities was often not well appreciated by those in the cities. "This is a nationwide problem ... in the past it's been fairly localised but now, because it's so wide­spread, you can't bring in feed."
   Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said the whole community was suffering, because many busi­nesses serviced the farmers who were themselves struggling.
   Young farmers particularly were doing it tough, he said.
   Wairarapa Federated Farmers president Jamie Falloon said the region was likely to be declared in drought today, after farmers put their case to the Ministry for Pri­mary Industries on Tuesday.
   Tararua, Gisborne, Taranaki, Manawatu and Rangitikei are also awaiting official drought declara­tions, likely to come this morning when the Minister for Primary In­dustries, Nathan Guy, makes an announcement at a farm near Cheltenham, in Manawatu.
   Northland,South Auckland,Waikato, including Taupo, and Coromandel,BayofPlentyand Hawke's Bay have already been declared drought zones.

 

 

              What it takes to end the big dry

MICHELLE ROBINSON      Last updated  17/03/2013

    Just three days of consistent rain is needed to end the worst drought in 70 years, but meteorologists say if it doesn't come soon it will be too late for farmers.

    The North Island requires at least 362mm of rain to get grass growing again. Another three days of moderate rain would nurture new seedlings, climate scientist Jim Salinger said.

But there is a deadline.

     "By May it's too late. Come winter, it will be too cold and the damage will already be done."

    The rain has to be the right type as well - moderate, not a sudden downpour. Any deluge will muddy the ground and impede growth.

    There was drizzle in some areas yesterday and rain is forecast for today and tomorrow in many parts of the country. But dry sunny spells are expected to continue for the rest of the month, with normal rainfall expected for April, meteorologist Richard Turner said.

    Drought was officially declared over the North Island last week. The Grey and Buller districts are also on drought watch.

    This is the worst drought in New Zealand in 70 years due to its severity and regional spread, Salinger said. Previously the highest record rainfall needed was in the summer of 1945-46, when the soil moisture deficit was 361mm.

    It's been a summer of troubling milestones with a total North Island fire ban and outdoor water ban in Wellington after authorities announced last week there were just 20 days of supply left.

    Garden hoses and public fountains may remain off for another fortnight with fines of up to $20,000 for anyone who flouts the restrictions.

Public pool showers may also be switched off.

    Typically much of the North Island gets 11 rain days in March and 12 to 14 in April. But most places have not received anything since February 5.

    Long dry spells are expected to double by 2040 as the country heads towards a Mediterranean climate.

    Droughts cost around $2.5 billion between 1997 and 1999, and $2.8b in 2007-2008, Salinger said.

    Federated Farmers has set up a "feedline" to match farmers with feed supplies. And chartered boats and train carriages are being sought to carry feed from the South Island.

    "Even if it rains tomorrow, it will take three to four weeks to get enough grass cover," national president Bruce Wills said.

    "If the rain doesn't come in the next month or so it will be a difficult winter period. With the cold the grass won't grow so it will be spring before we get anything."

    Fertilizer company Ravensdown has offered to carry 6000 straw bales on a South Island return trip. Hamburg Sud offered to fill 30 containers with feed.

    The Government is offering rural assistance payments through Work and Income to those in extreme hardship.

                   DROUGHT FACTS Who's affected?

   Parts of the North Island have received between a third and a half of the normal rainfall levels over summer. The following areas have been officially declared to be in drought:

•   Northland.

•   South Auckland.

•   Waikato (including Coromandel, Hauraki and Matarnata-Piako).

•   Hawke's Bay.

•   Bay of Plenty.

Manawatu and Rangitikei have asked the Government to declare a drought in their regions.

What is it costing ?

•   DairyNZ estimates that by the end of March, milk production for 2013 will have been reduced by
260 million litres - representing lost income of around $130m.

•   The average Waikato dairy farmer will lose an estimated $140,000 in lost revenues and increased
expense.

•   The Government says total losses to the economy could reach $1 billion.
           
         The history of drought - and the future

*   1908 -  Drought in Wellington      

•   2007 - Record low rainfall in many northern and eastern areas leads to a shortage of feed and
lower than normal spring lambing and beef numbers.

•   2008 - Waikato experiences driest January in a century. Severe moisture deficits continue in North
Island until April/May, with the estimated cost to agriculture exceeding $1b, and an 11 per cent fall in
sheep numbers.

•   2010 - 253mm of rain falls in Northland between November 2009 and April 2010, leading to its
worst drought in 60 years. In the previous year 748mm of rain fell.

•   2050 - Niwa models suggest that by mid-century, farmers in most NorthIslandregions, as well as
those in eastern regions of the South Island will be spending 5 to 10 per cent more of the year in drought.

 What can farmers do?
•   Build more dams.
•   Plant trees as feed.
*  Change Stock mix
*   Improve irrigation
*   Leave grass longer

                               FUTURE FEARS

The Ministry of Environment warns climate change will bring more drought to some areas, especially Waikato, Wairarapa and Marlborough over the rest of the century.

Here's a summary of predictions based on climate change modelling:

Northland: Decreased annual rainfall but more intense, heavy winter rain.

Auckland: Time spent in drought ranges from minimal change through to more than double.

Waikato: Time spent in drought is likely to increase, leading to water shortages and wild fires.

Bay of Plenty: Spring rainfall is likely to decrease by 9 per cent.

Gisborne and Hawke's Bay: Winter rainfall is likely to be down by 16 per cent.

Taranaki: Little change to annual rainfall, winter rainfall down 6 per cent.

Manawatu and Whanganui: Very heavy rainfall likely to be more frequent.

Wellington and Wairarapa: Much less winter and spring rain. Time in drought likely to increase.

Marlborough: Time in drought likely to increase.

Nelson: Annual rainfall up 4 per cent.

Canterbury: Winter rainfall down 11 per cent in Christchurch, up 18 per cent in Tekapo.

West Coast: Wetter; heavy rainfall events more frequent.

Otago: Rainfall up 4 per cent in Dunedin, rainfall up 12 per cent in Queenstown.

Southland: 7 per cent more rain, more in winter.

Other warnings include:

Heat: Higher temperatures will mean an increase in demand for air-conditioning systems and therefore for electricity in summer. But there will be a reduction in demand for winter heating.

Flooding: More frequent intense winter rainfalls to increase the flooding by rivers, as well as flash flooding when urban drainage systems become overwhelmed.

Water: Water demand up during hot, dry summers. Lower river flows in summer will aggravate water quality problems.

Source: Ministry of Environment

• © Fairfax NZ News

 

 Horowhenua District Council water restrictions

 Water restriction in Levin in February 2013 due to the continuing  drought

 Drought in Nelson 1979

      Drought in Nelson 1979     Slim pickings for sheep

 

 One of the worst droughts experienced in New Zealand happened in the summer of 1946.

The report below was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald January 1946.

   

Drought in New Zealand

Auckland, Tuesday 23 January  1946.

The worst drought for 25 years is being experienced over most of the North IsIand.
It is particularly severe in the principal dairying districts and large areas of sheep
country.

Rainfall in the northern areas in the past three months has been only one sixth of the average.
In some areas on the east coast there has no rain four months, and fair-sized rivers are now mere
trickles.

Water is being brought into some districts and sold at sixpence a large tinful. In many remote areas,
where residents are dependent on tanks, there is no water. Burnt pastures make the winter feed outlook serious.

 21-3-2013 : Rain has fallen the drought is drawing to a close.  21-3-2013 : Rain has fallen the drought is drawing to a close.

 

John Davis      ( Farmer )

Foxton farmer Mr, John Davis by henryphillips
 Relief at last : 21-3-2013 : Rain has fallen, John Davis checks out the ground moisture at his Foxton farm.

 

 By KELVIN TEIXEIRA
   Foxton dairy farmer John Davis can almost see his grass turning greener before his eyes.

   "We've had 60 millilitres of rain here," he said, after a welcome end this week to a long dry spell.
   "It started off nice and soft and then at nights really packed in. It will transform our place completely. It's bloody bril­liant."
   However, Mr Davis said farmers like him, who needed pasture to feed stock, still need to be patient and continue feed­ing out while waiting for dry grass to rot down and sufficient p'asture to grow.
   "But the ground is still warm and there's no wind, so the recovery should be reasonably quick.
   "No doubt there will be many relieved farmers out there. You never know how long drought conditions will go on for, but when it does end you're just thankful."

   Mr Davis, farming 40-plus years, said the current drought was as bad as the one in the 1969 to 1970 summer.
   "The difference this time is that we had good rainfall during late spring and early summer. Production was actually the best it's been,- but the situation went backwards very smartly. But that's just sometimes the way it is in farming."
   Last Friday a state of drought was officially declared throughout the entireNorthIsland.
   Otaki MP and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said declaring drought status meant extra government funding was available to Rural Support
Trusts which worked with farmers to pro­vide support and guidance. There will also be rural assistance payments avail­able 
from Work and Income, which are equivalent to the unemployment benefit and available in extreme hardship.
   Mr Guy said farmers should contact their accountants or the IRD for help or flexibility with tax payments, while stan-dard hardship assistance was available from Work and Income.
   Mr Davis said if the costs of  transpor­ting feed up from theSouth Island could be covered, it would be a big help.
   "Farming is pretty important to theNew Zealandeconomy and with real flow-on effect which should be given credit for." 


 21-3-2013    Rainy days arrive just in time

By KELVIN TEIXEIRA

   Rainfall this week has averted the need for greater restrictions on water use in Levin.
   Horowhenua District Council water services manager Sarah Stephen said about 60 millimetres of rain fell in Levin and the Ohau River flow has risen from about 900 litres each second last week to more than 5000 litres a second this week.
   "This is definitely a big increase and is certainly helping with water demand."
   Miss Stephen said with the recent dry spell there had been concern that water restrictions may have needed to be escalated last Friday. However, it may be they could now be eased. This would be decided next week.

   "We are not sure how the river will drop back once the rain subsides," she said. "However, the chances of a level three restriction being imposed soon are less now."
    A level two restriction was placed on all council water supplies to Levin residents and businesses last month in efforts to conserve water.
   Garden sprinklers and soak hoses must not be used and handheld hoses can only be used every second day. Hoses must not be used for cleaning windows or paved areas, unless clean­ing of the latter is required as a result of an emergency. Only watering cans or buckets filled from taps can be used for cleaning vehicles.

Horowhenua District council water services Manager Sarah Stephens

 Sarah Stephen Horowhenua district Council 

 An interesting Piece of reseach for the Horowhenua Area added to this sight 4th November 2013. Although this is not about dry weather, its' about floods. Just for something different.
By Henry Phillips 

 

Notes for The Big Dry and Manakau

Reported in Fielding Star Volume XV1 Issue 4165 dated 9th December 1920 

HOROWHENUA FLOODS.

BRIDGES WASHED AWAY

   EXTENSIVE DAMAGE DONE. Very heavy rain occurred in the Levin, Shannon, and Otaki districts on Monday and Tuesday. An exceptional downpour occurred in the ranges, with the result that nearly all the rivers are in flood. At Mangahoa, where November is generally the wettest month off the year, tlie usual heavy rains have extended into December, and on Monday and Tuesday the big total of 8 inches was recorded.
   The terrific amount of water in Shannon led some people to believe that some of the works at the Mangahao had burst and the water had rushed through. This, of course, is impossible, as the work is not yet far enough advanced for this to happen, and even if the dams were constructed, such an occurrence would be extremely unlikely. Press Association messages state that heavy local floods in the region of Levin have swept away a number of bridges, including that at Waikawa on the North Island arterial route.
   This bridge is situated between Ohau and Manakau, and about a span was washed away. The Levin Chronicle states that a big flood came down the Waikawa stream and rising rapidly, threatened the bridge, the water reached a point that has not been touched for many years, and the strain proving too great, a span of the bridge collapsed and fell into the swirling torrent. Mr T. Raynor, who lives in the vicinity, saw the danger that threatened traffic and look precautions to warn motorists and others, thereby preventing accidents. As it was several people narrowly missed going off over the end of the bridge.The  collapse of the bridge will mean very serious inconvenience to motorists and others as it is on the main road from Wellington. Nothing can be done until the flood subsides and it will be some weeks before the bridge can be made fit to carry traffic again.
   The Ohau River was also in a flooded state, but kept within its banks for the most part and did no particular damage. As Floods swept over the Otaki district at an early hour yesterday, and did a tremendous amount of damage to roads and the river protective works. Water covered hundreds of acres, washing bridges away and drowning stock. On the Te Rauparaha road considerable damage has been done, the water rising over many of the fences in the neighbour hood ot the Waitahu, where many acres were inundated. The Waitahu River broke through near the golf links, swept over the road, washed away the bridge, and joined the Mangapoun Creek, which is only a little above normal. Acres of land were flooded at Rangiuru, where stock had to be hastily removed from the low country. Many houses in the locality are cut off from access to the roads.
   At Tokomaru one bridge has gone, washed away by the high flood in the Tokomaru stream, and a great deal of the surrounding. country is under water. The approaches to the Tokomaru Bridge on the main road were badly damaged and traffic has had to be suspended until repairs are effected.    The Manawatu was running bankhigh, and the low country between Shannon and the river is covered to a fair depth.    Much of the land near Koputaroa, which was inundated in the last flood, is again under water. The whole of the Horowhenua County has suffered to a greater or less content by reason of the downpour, and all of the streams and other watercourses are very much swollen. It is an interesting fact that while the Manawatu River and most of its tributaries are again in high flood, the Pohangina is clear.

 

  HOROWHENUA CHRONICLE, Wednesday, Aprii 24, 2013

Levin water restrictions lifted

It's back to normal for Levin residents with the lifting of all water restrictions imposed during the drought.
   "The recent change in weather conditions has meant the Ohau River levels have increased enough to lift the water restriction," Horowhenua District Council water services manager Sarah Stephen said. "The excellent response to water conservation efforts by residents in the district has also assisted in sustaining river levels."
   Miss Stephen said the council was still asking residents to continue to use water wisely.
   Supply and demand isn't an issue now, but the less water we use the less we have to treat, which lowers the overall operating cost."

                      Simple water saving tips include:
•    Turning off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving.
•    Checking cistern, taps and pipes for leaks or overflow.
•    Installing a dual-flush toilet cistern.
•    Using a bucket of water and a soft sponge or mop for outdoor cleaning           jobs.  
•    Sweeping up garden waste, rather than hosing it away.
•    Doing only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
•    Taking shorter showers.
•    Using a bowl or plug in the sink when washing vegetables                        handwashing dishes.        
      Other Horowhenua areas connected to council water  supplies beyond      Levin had water restrictions lifted to level of last week.
      The whole district has now returned to normal and no restrictions now      apply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   This is the photo taken in 1920 that relates to the article                written about the ( storm,  floods and damaged Waikawa
   River Bridge) opposite 

 

 

 Waikawa River Bridge ( on main road) after flood 1920 )
  by henryphillips

 

 

 

    

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Drought ( The Big Dry) Summer of 2012-2013 by HJP


Date:31/3/2013
Contact email address:henryphillips@xtra.co.nz
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
Drought ( The Big Dry) Summer of 2012-2013 by HJP by henryphillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License