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Storage Importance Stressed as Rains Fail to Reach All Areas

11 January 2013

NEW ZEALAND - The importance of regional water storage has been made clear recently as recent Southland and West Coast rains have not reached parts of Gisborne and Hawke's bay where river levels remain critical.

Farmers were worried about rain in the Waikato before Christmas said Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson. The Hawke’s Bay region is still without rainfall and north of Tolaga Bay the ground is dry. This contrasts with the dry spell this time last year when the areas enjoyed good rainfall.

Relief has been provided by recent rains for many businesses although Mrs Milne stressed the welcome rain the northern South Island and Wairarapa has received will soon be sapped from the ground after a hot spell of weather.

The importance of water storage has been stressed by Mrs Milne.

“This lack of summer rain makes Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Ruataniwha Plains Water Storage Project vital. With surplus water also coming down rivers in Otago and Canterbury, It pretty much underlines why we need to capture it when we can.”

“It is gutting to see electricity dams spilling water that only runs out to sea when our economy is hostage to the vagaries of summer rainfall. We need to make a conscious decision to trap and store rainfall while we have heaps of it, for use when we don’t,” added Mrs Milne.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has been observing drought levels through December. Water conservation policy has been introduced . HBRC Environmental Management Group Manager Iain Maxwell. Has urged farmers farmers urged to abide by consent conditions and limits.

“The majority of water takes subject to higher flow cut off levels on the main rivers plus many streams are on ban. As river levels drop, additional bans will flow through to the larger group of consent holders on lower minimum flows, especially on the Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Raupare,” said Mr Maxwell.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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