31 Jan 2013

Water fears in Auckland, Canterbury swelters

9:56 pm on 31 January 2013

Auckland is experiencing its second driest January on record and some residents are being warned they will be without tank water for up to six weeks.

Just six millimetres of rain has fallen in the city in the month, compared with a monthly average of 61mm.

The last time January was this dry in Auckland was in 1974, when just 4mm of rain fell in the month.

The current dry weather is causing panic for people who rely on water tanks in west Auckland and for Waiheke Island residents who face waits of between two and six weeks for refills.

More than 300 requests for water have been lodged since Wednesday by Waiheke Island residents, who will now have to wait until March.

Island resident Linda Powell says many people there have resorted to showering at the beaches and using public toilets because they don't have enough water at home.

The Auckland Council's water supplier, Watercare, says its dams are relatively full, but it is almost doubling the supply it gets from the Waikato River to prepare in case the dry weather continues.

MetService says light rain will fall over the weekend and next week, but it will make little difference to the dry conditions.

Hot and sunny in Canterbury

Cantabrians on Thursday experienced some of the hottest temperatures of the summer.

Christchurch reached 32 degrees Celsius, while Rangiora in North Canterbury had a high of 36C.

However, MetService spokesperson Daniel Corbett said the sunshine isn't expected to last, with rain forecast for the region early next week.

Christchurch has experienced hot, dry weather for several weeks.

Rangiora holdsthe national high temperature, with a record 42C in 1973.