Water shortage warning for Southland

Southlanders may have to go easy on the sprinklers. Photo: ODT files
Southlanders may have to go easy on the sprinklers. Photo: ODT files
Southlanders are being encouraged to prepare for another summer of water shortages.

Environment Southland issued the warning today, with low water levels and a predicted dry summer both causes for concern.

Director of science and information Graham Sevicke-Jones said the region received good amounts of rain over winter and spring, however not all underground aquifers have bounced back.

“Generally groundwater levels for the region have recovered to above levels normally measured at this time of year, with the exception of the Edendale aquifer, which has been severely impacted over the last two years.”

Aquifers typically recharge over winter but the past two years had been unusually dry he said.

The water in the Edendale aquifer is at its lowest recorded level ever for this time of year.

“People and businesses in the Edendale area are likely to find themselves experiencing difficulties with water supplies this summer. We’re continuing to investigate the effect of the low aquifer level and the recovery of the aquifer.”

According to NIWA’s long-term forecast, Southland is expected to experience lower than usual rainfall during the summer.

Even without a region-wide water shortage this year, Mr Sevicke-Jones recommended Southlanders “make preparations now” should the worst case scenario happen.

“It’s been good to see that a number of organisations have already prompted Southlanders, especially those in rural settings, to think about what they would do if water levels get low.

"Now is the time to check and maintain bores, fix any leaks, and make a plan for stock feed and business continuity.”

He said Environment Southland would keep a close eye on rivers and groundwater levels over the summer, with updates provided via its website. 

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