28 Jan 2013

Water restriction warnings as country dries out

8:27 pm on 28 January 2013

There have been more warnings of water restrictions as parts of New Zealand dry out.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has advised that irrigation bans are likely to be triggered this week on some rivers because they are expected to reach their minimum flows.

The council says showers last week were not enough to relieve the dry conditions which are forcing farmers to get rid of stock.

Northland Regional Council is also warning water users to prepare for possible shortages and restrictions unless there is significant rain over the next month or two.

The council says rain over the past several months has been significantly lower than usual in many parts of Northland.

It warns that low soil moisture levels are likely to continue and river flows and ground water levels are expected to fall further in February and March if the region does not receive sufficient rain.

Waikato Regional Council is also keeping a close watch on dry conditions.

It says soil moisture levels in the region are down on normal for this time of year.

The council, along with other agencies such as the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Rural Support Trust, will continue to keep track of soil moisture and waterway levels, and monitor how farmers are faring.