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HBRC holds first Climate Briefing

HBRC holds first Climate Briefing

The Regional Council held its first Climate Briefing on Monday for the benefit of those who work in and support the primary sector in Hawke’s Bay.

The meeting was called by HBRC’s Resource Management Group Manager Iain Maxwell, with the support of Environmental Science staff. The key message delivered was that the region may experience drier conditions in the months ahead.

Early predictions from NIWA indicate that Hawke’s Bay may be in for a drier than normal spring and summer. The meeting included sector and iwi representatives, support agencies, councillors, with key staff from other councils and landowners.

Presentations were given by HBRC’s Climate & Air Scientist Dr Kathleen Kozyniak, Hydrologist Rob Waldron and Groundwater Scientist Simon Harper.

The meeting was chaired by HBRC’s Fenton Wilson who said, “The region has still got some time, but we’re getting closer to a critical time.”

Hawke’s Bay is likely to experience drier than usual El Nino conditions this year, though both wet and dry extremes could occur. There could be a tendency for more westerly winds and weather patterns, and below normal sea, soil and land temperatures. Light to moderate rainfall is expected in the coming months, with river flows likely to be on average below normal. Some groundwater levels and wells that rely on groundwater start the growing season with a record low baseline.

According to Fenton Wilson, El Nino is likely to add mental and financial stress to the pressures of day-to-day farming. Comments from other sources in the room indicated that many farms dams are not full for this time of year, with feed levels fairly low for September. While horticulture and pip fruit are presently in a good space on the plains, a further Climate Briefing meeting is planned to be held before November.

“Drought is not a foregone conclusion, but there are a number of factors pointing to a drier than normal spring and summer period,” says Fenton.

“We want to actively offer as much early support and information as we can,” he concluded.


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