Stock off-loaded as big dry begins bites

Water carriers are busy as the region dries out and farmers are having to off-load stock to cope.

Sunshine and wind has left paddocks dry and stalky, with no green pasture underneath.

Rangitikei Transport water carrier Peter Whitehead said his business was carrying 10,000-litre lots of water to people at Bulls, Feilding and Halcombe.

"Driving around, Halcombe seems the most dry area. The ground has dried out with the wind and sun.

"But people have to use water in their tanks, however what they're using is not being replenished."

Mr Whitehead said it was a dry November and December, with some rain, but most had been used up.

"If we get no rain next week, we'll be really busy." Only a little rain is forecast.

Water carriers collect chlorinated water and deliver it to farms, lifestyle blocks and houses on the edge of cities and towns.

A Grade Water Supply representative Soraya Gommans said her business delivered water all over the Manawatu, Rangitikei and Horowhenua region, as well as in Tararua.

"We're definitely busy. We have had a lot of deliveries to rural areas of Pohangina, Feilding and Colyton."

She said Pahiatua and Woodville were starting to get dry.

"Rural people know how to conserve water. Lifestylers, or people on the edge of towns and cities learn quickly how to better conserve water when they have to pay for it."

Stantiall and Keeling farm adviser John Stantiall said things on farms were starting to look difficult.

"Farmers have some serious decisions on what stock they can keep and feed.

"We are short of water in the soil. We get 20 millimetres of rain, and people think that's enough. We really need 100mm, just to bring the soil moisture up."

Collectively, farmers were more easily able to cope if it was dry in some areas, but not in others, he said.

"One of the worst things is it is dry everywhere."

Manawatu Standard