Council to hold drought meeting

Last updated 05:00 26/03/2013

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Environment Southland will hold a briefing with rural representatives and environmental groups today to discuss the impact of the prolonged dry spell.

Despite patchy rainfall throughout Southland at the weekend, river flows and several aquifers are still at significantly low levels, and groundwater and moisture levels barely registered change.

MetService duty forecaster John Law said about 2 millimetres of rain was recorded at Gore, 5mm at Invercargill and 12mm at Lumsden during the weekend and, apart from a few scattered coastal showers, the region would remain dry until the weekend.

A front forecast for Saturday was expected to bring showers to Southland, but it was not yet known how heavy they would be, he said.

Environment Southland environmental management director Warren Tuckey said the weekend rain had brought little relief. Groundwater and moisture levels had barely registered change.

Flows in the Mataura catchment were still low and several aquifers were at their lowest recorded levels in about 10 years, he said.

In most places, the weekend's rain had not made an appreciable difference to soil moisture levels.

Northern Southland would need up to 80mm of rain to bring soil moisture back to normal and replenish groundwater.

The briefing will be held this morning at 10.30am at Environment Southland.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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