Drought-hit Southland slapped with two-week irrigation ban

Source: 1News

For the first time ever, the whole of Southland has been ordered to stop irrigation for two weeks to help deal with the region’s drought.

A sprinkler irrigation system at work on a farm pasture.

A Water Shortage Direction has been issued by Environment Southland in response to the “critical” level of rivers and aquifers, coupled with the lack of rainfall predicted over the next few weeks.

The direction comes into effect immediately.

“While we acknowledge this direction will create challenges, we must take action to reduce water use in order to protect the health of the rivers, while ensuring we still provide for essential human and animal health water supplies,” says Environment Southland chief executive, Rob Phillips.

Environment Southland says it will be actively monitoring water levels and consent activity and may need to issue further directions for other activities in the near future.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor today announced a medium-scale adverse event for the Southland and Clutha and Queenstown Lakes districts.

This classification provides $100,000 in Government funding to support farmers and growers from now until October 2022.

Southland has had the driest year to date since Environment Southland’s records began in 1970.

The region has seen only 57% of the normal rainfall, while coaster areas have only had 49% of the normal rainfall.