Drought, fire restrictions ease

Environment Southland has revised its classification of previously low water levels across the region. Heavy and sustained rainfall during February has meant most of Southland’s rivers and aquifers are now back to normal levels for this time of year.

Graham Sevicke-Jones

Director of science and information Graham Sevicke-Jones said the council no longer considered Southland’s water situation ‘”serious”. With more rain forecast the chances of going back to water shortage conditions were low.

“Most of our underground aquifers have responded well to the rain we’ve had since 29 January, with the exception of Garvie, Lintley and Edendale. Soil moisture levels have improved, and most rivers are at levels that are typical for this time of year.”

The Southland District Council and Invercargill City Council have lifted all domestic water use restrictions, and the Gore District Council has eased sprinkler restrictions.
Information about water levels is available on Environment Southland’s website  including graphs of aquifer levels, live river levels and situation updates.

Restricted fire season

Meanwhile Fire Emergency New Zealand  has lifted the total fire ban for the Southern Fire District. A restricted fire season is in place, which means permits are not needed for camp fires, barbecues (gas and coal), incinerators, offal pits and piled up hedge trimmings, where the tree limbs are smaller than 75mm in diameter and the pile is not larger than 2 square metres. If you do need a fire permit go to www.checkitsalright.nz

Earlier fire ban report