1 May 2009

Drought may be declared in Wairarapa

9:35 pm on 1 May 2009

A drought declaration may not be far off for the Wairarapa region if recommendations by its drought committee are followed through.

Declarations were made in Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Wairoa last week

Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Anders Crofoot says soil moisture deficits vary across the region.

The central areas appear to be the worst hit, he says, with many farms experiencing their third autumn of severe drought, though properties in the far south and far north are not as badly affected.

Meanwhile, Wellington's regional council has decided to extend the time when landowners are allowed to take water for irrigation, in order to help farmers struggling with dry soils after months of low rainfall.

Consents to take water for irrigation would normally end for some farmers on 30 April but the council has extended that to the end of May.

The extension applies only to those whose water is not from a source where restrictions apply, and consent holders are not allowed to exceed their annual allocation.