Water shortage response scaled back

Environment Southland has revised its classification of previously low water levels across the region. Heavy and sustained rainfall during February has meant most of Southland’s rivers and aquifers are now back to normal levels for this time of year.

Director of science and information Graham Sevicke-Jones said the council no longer considered Southland’s water situation ‘serious’. With more rain forecast the chances of going back to water shortage conditions were low.

“Most of our underground aquifers have responded well to the rain we’ve had since 29 January, with the exception of Garvie, Lintley and Edendale. Soil moisture levels have improved, and most rivers are at levels that are typical for this time of year.”

During the past week there has been significant rainfall around Southland, with totals ranging from 22.5 mm at Waituna to 96.5 mm at Hamilton Burn.

Global rainfall models are predicting rainfall over the next three days, and the MetService 14-day forecast indicates rain through to next Saturday.

The Southland District Council and Invercargill City Council have lifted all domestic water use restrictions, and the Gore District Council has eased sprinkler restrictions.

Environment Southland will continue to work with industry representatives and others around managing the on-going effects of the drought, like concerns about winter feed shortages.

Information about water levels is available on Environment Southland’s website at www.es.govt.nz/low-water-levels, including graphs of aquifer levels, live river levels and situation updates.