As the dry summer days roll on, it’s a timely reminder to rural residents to think about water rainfall and their water usage.
Season-to-date rainfall totals have been below normal for most of the Auckland region, fueled by a dry December.
NIWA’s latest New Zealand Drought Index reveals most of the Auckland region is currently experiencing very dry conditions.
“So far this summer, while there have been some heavy downpours, rainfall has been rather patchy, affecting some parts of the region but missing others, says NIWA meteorologist, Ben Noll.
“Rainfall over the next several weeks, through the end of January, will most likely be below normal across the Auckland region.”
The sprinkle of rain over the last couple of days would have done little to raise the level of rainwater tanks in rural areas.
"Auckland experienced one of the worst droughts in its history last year and we are once again seeing below-average rainfall and dry conditions,” says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.
“If you are reliant on rainwater tanks for your drinking water supply, please remember to use water wisely, regularly check water tank levels and book a water delivery in advance if necessary.
“Forward planning is key to avoiding the situation we experienced last summer. If you do need to order water, don't wait until you've almost run out before you call them," he adds.
Water tanker operators across the region say there is nowhere near the desperation for water there was this time last year.
Healthy Water Tanks owner Garry Stephenson who delivers in the Rodney area says, “Rural residents are paying a lot more attention this year and not taking any chances. They’re pre-booking deliveries early and that’s a massive shift from 2020.”
Anecdotally operators say rural residents seem to have heeded the message and installed extra tanks; the additional 20,000 litres giving added insurance.
Right now, the chance for a soaking rainfall event this February in Auckland is about medium.
“This time of the year, tropical cyclones can develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean to the north of New Zealand. Sometimes, their moisture can come down and affect parts of the country, but this moisture is not a guarantee,” says Ben.
With rainfall still some way off it is essential rural residents keep their “eye on the ball”.