22 Mar 2013

Benefits of Hawke's Bay rain to be short-lived - council

7:01 am on 22 March 2013

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is warning that the benefits of the rain the region had earlier this week are likely to be short-lived.

It says the rain has brought some relief, with some irrigation bans lifted. But resource management group manager Iain Maxwell says with no immediate follow-up rain forecast, the reprieve is unlikely to last long.

Mr Maxwell says the rain has raised river levels and allowed the ban on irrigation to be lifted from some rivers, however soil moisture levels are very, very low and there was not a large amount of rain which was variable in the region.

He says long-term forecasts indicate it is unlikely there will be more rain in the next couple of weeks, which is what is needed now.

Mr Maxwell says this drought is potentially worse than the 2008/09 drought, when significant rain in February brought relief.

But February rainfall statistics for this year show that many areas have had below 50% normal rainfall and many river and stream flows were the lowest in 25 years.