North soaked, south parched

While the north has had an excess of wet weather and holiday makers in the southern South Island have been enjoying the sun, farmers in Southland are desperate for rain.

The lush Southland landscape is rapidly turning lifeless and brown.

Dairy farmers are using their winter feed as summer crops fail to sprout, water deliveries to homes are increasing, river levels are dropping and volunteers are rescuing trapped trout as ponds dry out.

As some Southlanders anxiously wait for rain, they have had to take drastic measures to keep their farms and homes running, and as the prospect of rain looks bleak, some farmers have started to panic.

When you’re used to stretches of weeks, sometimes months, without significant rainfalls as we are in North Otago, it is easy to think the Southlanders are over-reacting.

But if you depend on frequent rain as they do there, relatively short stretches of dry weather is as serious as far longer dry spells for us.

3 Responses to North soaked, south parched

  1. Neil says:

    This is one of the hottest summers for me that I can remember. When it looks like raining you get about a dozen drops, the rain clears and the heat returns.
    It is also interesting for this will be the first really dry summer for many of the new dairy farmers in the province.
    There will be pressure on existing water sources so look for some tensions between the dairy farmers and rural communities over the allocation of water.
    Many of the dairy farms are in marginal areas which demand huge amounts of water.


  2. robertguyton says:

    Thank goodness for the scientists and other staff at Environment Southland. If ‘industry’ was responsible for water allocations, who knows what state we’d be in (see ‘Aorere Valley mucks up’).


  3. fredinthegrass says:

    Wettest year in 52 years of records where we live.
    Farmers struggling to control pasture, and gardens soft and lush.
    I can foresee a fire hazard if it forgets to rain for any length of time.


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