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Drought declared for Horizons Region

Drought declared for Horizons Region

Drought has been officially declared for the Horizons Region and Horizons Regional Council chairman Bruce Gordon says his council’s committed to supporting those communities affected.

“While there is still little rain forecast, this declaration goes some way towards assuring farmers that they’re not in it alone. It reiterates the message that the situation is severe and could have a lasting economic impact,” Mr Gordon says.

“We all have a part to play in preserving our water resources, whether we’re in town or on the farm, and as a council we are doing what we can to ensure people and stock have access to essential water supplies.”
Horizons’ monitoring data shows some of the region’s rivers have dropped to their lowest levels in over 30 years, with 70 per cent of those with consents to take surface water on partial or full restriction.

The Makakahi Stream near Eketahuna is at its lowest since records began in 1979 and the Whanganui River is at a 35 year low in parts.

Mr Gordon says Horizons staff have been putting extra effort into ensuring the accuracy of river gaugings and flow information so water can be used when it becomes available.

“We are keeping a very close eye on our region’s rivers and streams. When water is available for irrigation we need to be able to pass this information on to our communities as soon as possible, we also need to act quickly to implement restrictions in times of minimum flows to preserve river health,” he says.

Information about water restrictions and river flows is available via the Watermatters section of Horizons’ website www.horizons.govt.nz in close to real-time.

Horizons is also working closely with Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and other organisations involved in drought-management and its rural advice team is on hand via toll free number 0508 800 800 to assist with practical solutions and advice.

Ends

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