Now for real thing, please

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014
Barry Tippett
CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ

NOT LICKING GOOD: Opunake farmer Barry Tippett with his cows Jay Jay, left, and Cosmic pray for rain, because there just wasn’t enough in his gauge. 

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Good but not good enough. Yesterday's rainfall has done little to break the extended dry for Taranaki's frustrated dairy farmers.

After a virtually dry month, as much as nine millimetres of rainfall was recorded near Bell Block and in New Plymouth just before lunch.

But by mid-afternoon the promising wet spell had cleared up and the sun was shining again around the region.

MetService's 10-day forecast predicts showers will hit New Plymouth again on Sunday, and will continue through to Thursday, March 27.

The news of more rain to come had Tikorangi farmer Craig Rowe feeling hopeful during yesterday's midday downpour.

"Any rain is good, but it just started today.

"Where I am it's going to take a while to come right, it's very dry out there at the moment."

He said farms needed at least a week of rain and it would take at least three weeks for the grass, which had died, to rot down.

"It's come a couple of weeks too late, but we'll take it while we can," fellow farmer Andrew Walker said.

In Opunake, farmer Barry Tippett's sentiments were similar.

"The amount of rain we have received is not enough.

"We collected just about 6mm of rain since before Cyclone Lusi but the winds that came with the cyclone dried everything up.

"The puddles are all gone and the turnips are going to the cows."

Mr Tippett said he needed a good inch of rain, but would take every drop he could get his hands on.

"We get roughly the same amount of rain each year.

"If it's really dry in the summer, we get a lot of rain in the winter and that's where we don't want it, because it turns everything into mud."

Last week the New Plymouth District Council announced water flows in the district's largest source of drinking water, the Waiwhakaiho River, were lower than at any time during last year's drought.

The council's manager of water and wastes, Mark Hall, said water consumption had dropped to 31 million litres per day during the weekend.

But on Monday usage jumped up to 38m litres per day, which was above the average daily usage for 2013 of 34.6m litres.

He said if more rain came, the council would look at river water flows and make a call about whether or not to remove restrictions.

Currently, part-restrictions on water are in place throughout the district with sprinklers and unattended hoses banned.

Hand-held hoses are allowed on the odds and evens system for house numbers.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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