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MIL OSI – Source: Whangarei District Council – Release/Statement

Headline: Drought Awareness – Whangarei District Council

This page contains information about keeping a close eye on weather forecasts and making sure any drought response needed is ready to go!

21/02/2017 2:40 p.m.

While this summer has been a cracker for beach goers, for some it has just meant cracks in the ground, empty water tanks, perishing gardens and feeding out to stock as pasture dries up.

In a word, drought.

At Whangarei District Council it has meant keeping a very close eye on weather forecasts, river, ground and dam levels, and pulling out and dusting off the drought plan.

Despite unusually wet weather (for 2017) over the past week or so, there is no guarantee that the drought has broken, so a team at Council has met to ensure any drought response needed is ready to go.

WDC Water Services Manager Andrew Venmore said Whangarei went into summer with the supply in good condition after plenty of rain in November.

“But overall, we have had one of the driest summers on record to date, so we are taking nothing for granted. A couple of rainy weeks could signal a change has occurred or it could be short-term relief.

“At Council we monitor water levels in our supplies, rainfall coming in, how much water people are using and how fast, and compare all these pieces of information against the results for other years.

“That gives us a very accurate picture of our current situation, but we have to plan for a range of different scenarios to come from that point,” he said.

“At the moment the water level in Whau Valley Dam is a little bit lower than average for this time of year, so we are stepping in to the “public awareness” part of our strategy.

“That means getting stories like this out to the public, posting water saving tips on our

Facebook page and our website, and sending letters out to people who use water from vulnerable sources like small rivers. Generally we want to reinforce that water is a vital resource, that it needs to be used wisely.

“Things may be improving, but we don’t know what coming months will bring, so let’s all of us pause, take stock and proceed with a responsible attitude.”

Mr Venmore recommended people check the BeWaterWise website for information and for tips on conserving water.

Be Water Wise