Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


October clouds offer silver lining to Otago farmers

25 October 2016

October clouds offer silver lining to Otago farmers

Higher-than-normal rainfall in Otago has brought some much needed breathing space for Otago farmers who may be facing another summer of dry conditions.

Otago Regional Council manager of resource science Dean Olsen said soil moisture is currently close to normal for the time of year, and not as dry as it was this time last year.

“We’ve seen some good levels of rain in October, which has helped replenish the moisture in the soils and aquifers and in some rivers, but with a La Nina event predicted, parts of the region remain at risk of drought-like conditions,” Dr Olsen said.

“Looking back over the past six months, we can see that conditions over much of Otago have been on the dry side, which is reflected in the condition of some of our river systems.”

Dr Olsen said river flows had been below normal for this time of the year in the Taieri, Manuherikia, and Lindis catchments. Low groundwater levels were observed in the North Otago Volcanic Aquifer, Waitaki Plains, and parts of the lower Taieri.

With NIWA predicting average to below average rainfall for the region, ORC is encouraging farmers to get together with other water users to prepare for the likelihood that they will need to share available water.

Council chief executive Peter Bodeker said he was confident water users would do their utmost to manage the region’s water responsibly.

“We saw throughout last spring and summer that water users operated both responsibly and collaboratively in how they responded to very dry conditions,” Mr Bodeker said.

“We saw an extremely high level of compliance with consent conditions, and users responding swiftly to our requests to reduce taking water or stop altogether when required.

“Communities did an outstanding job of adhering to minimum flows, and sharing and rationing what water is available. I’m sure we will again witness this if the coming summer proves as challenging.”

Mr Bodeker said it was also important for communities to understand the pressures that dry conditions brought, not just on the river systems, but on the farming community.

The Government has extended its declaration of an adverse event to cover most of the eastern seaboard of the South Island. In Otago this includes all of the areas within the Dunedin, Central Otago, and Waitaki districts.

The classification means that farming families who are struggling may be able to in some circumstances access support and financial assistance.

Mr Bodeker said the first point of contact for any family needing help was the local rural support trust.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>



Mental Health Foundation: 'Positive First Steps'

“The heavy reliance on pilots and targeted approaches in the package announced today makes it plain that additional funding will be needed so that activities that work can be made available throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Robinson. More>>


'Gift' To NZ: Synod Considers Third Christchurch Cathedral Option

Members of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch will consider three, not two, options regarding the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral... The new option is for the Synod to gift the Cathedral building to the Government for the people of New Zealand. More>>


PM's Presser: Labour's Water Policy 'Reckless', Says English

The Labour Party has "bumbled into" its policy to charge for water in a "reckless" way that would put a Labour-led government on a collision course with both Maori and other water users, Prime Minister Bill English said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election