Water restrictions to be reviewed

19:27, Feb 20 2013

The swathe of sunshine baking the streets and browning the paddocks of Manawatu is here to stay for the weekend, into next week and possibly well into March.

Palmerston North reached 29 degrees Celsius yesterday and MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said the temperature would reach similar highs today and over the weekend.

There was no rain forecast for the next 10 days and the only relief from the sun would come on Thursday and Friday when a weak front would bring "a bit of cloud with a small risk of showers", Corbett said.

"The high sits firmly in place over the weekend and it could literally be that we are waiting until the end of the month and even into March for the next rain to fall.

"That's great for holiday-makers but for farmers around the area, they are probably getting pretty desperate."

He said February had been remarkably dry across the country.


"It's been an incredible month so far - the anticyclones we've been having are just so massive and the fronts coming in behind them have been puny. 

"The last time there was a rainmaker for your area was, I think, the 4th and 5th of February."

"I hope for farmers' sake that March brings about some decent rainfall."

With no rain in the forecast, Palmerston North City Council water assets engineer Dora Luo said watering restrictions would be reviewed regularly over the coming days.

The water level at the Turitea dam had dropped significantly since the weekend, sitting nearly one metre below the top, she said.

Palmerston North's water use is jumping up by 40 per cent in the evenings when people are allowed to hose their gardens.

Normally about 1400 cubic metres an hour, consumption has been leaping to around 2500 cubic metres an hour at the peak.

Luo said the pattern showed people were adhering to the level one watering restrictions that are currently in place.

Those odds-and-evens rules allow hosing on alternate days on alternate sides of the street, with unattended hoses only allowed between 7pm and 9pm on those days.

Manawatu Standard