Heat on in south to top up water tanks

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2011
girls in pool
COOL IN POOL: Cousins Elly Petrie, 4, of Tenterfield, Australia, left, and Alyssa Wetzler, 6, of Stanthorpe, Australia, enjoy a hot day in Queens Park paddling pool while visiting family and friends in Invercargill.

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Southlanders short of water are scurrying to top up their water tanks but the forecast is that rain is on its way.

Southland Cleanways Rapid Water owner Lloyd Phillips said his company was busier than normal, doubling its usual water deliveries to homes and farms in Southland for almost two weeks.

"For 10 days our 12,000-litre residential trucks have been going out 15 times a day. Our 30,000-litre trucks and trailers have been going to five dairy farms each day," he said.

Mr Phillips believed the dry spell was only part of the reason for the extra deliveries.

"I think last year during the drought many people got caught off guard, so now they are being cautious about what is left their tanks," he said.

Neptune water carriers owner Allen Anderson said he had been delivering mainly to farms but now more households needed water.

"The trouble with Southland is that we get two weeks of good weather and then it gets crazy (busy)," he said.

Southland Water Carriers manager Brad McLeod said he, too, had experienced a surge in water orders.

Yesterday, the temperature climbed to 27 degrees Celsius in Invercargill, but the H&J Smith temperature clock recorded 32C. In Gore, the temperature reached 29C, Queenstown 25C and Wanaka 24C.

Federated Farmers Southland dairy chairman Russell McPherson said more consideration should be given to community water schemes, where flood water could be stored for farmers and used during dry periods.

Environment Southland scientific officer Chris Jenkins said river levels were normal and none of them had gone below mean annual low flow.

According to the MetService, Southland's lack of rain is set to continue into next week, with only one day of consistent rain forecast for Wednesday.

MetService spokesman Daniel Corbet said substantial rain was forecast for tomorrow , with a few light showers on Thursday and Friday that will gradually die away during the weekend. Then, on Monday, December 19, Southlanders can prepare for another sunny, dry period.

"If you are waiting on rain, then put a tick at Wednesday," Mr Corbet said.

Stage one, "summer mode" water restrictions came into effect for the entire Clutha district last week, which meant watering was restricted to between the hours of 8pm and 8am.

Exemptions may be granted by council on a case-by-case basis to commercial properties and for irrigation, depending on the level of restrictions in place, the extent of the dry period, and the time of the year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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