Unusually dry weather may see water restrictions in place for Southland

Southland is the latest region feeling the heat with a dry start to summer.

With river levels slow, considerable restrictions on water use are in the pipeline if the hot weather continues.

The arid weather is also adding stress to farmers sowing new grass and crops.

One of the farmers affected is Clinton-based Hamish McGregor, who says rainfall would make his crops "good as gold".

"Sort of need that rain to germinate things a wee bit, but can't hold off forever so sort of need to get it in the ground as soon as possible," Mr McGregor says.

It's been weeks since any significant rainfall in Gore, prompting water restrictions and calls to minimise its use in the region.

Gore District Council's chief executive, Steve Parry, says the water levels are much lower than normal.

"The river here is probably about 45 per cent lower than it what it normally is at this time of year. Our water wells we draw water from are about 35 per cent lower than what they normally are," Mr Parry says.

Environment Southland says the region has had only 81 per cent of its annual rainfall so far this year.

Meanwhile, NIWA's long-term forecast is for lower than average rainfall during summer.

Environment Southland's director of science and planning, Graham Sevicke-Jones, says the unusually dry weather is a cause for concern.

"You've got river levels dropping, aquifers not recharging so they can drop a lot faster than we would have expected, so we're trying to raise concern with people," he says.

Water restrictions are in the pipeline if conditions don't change. Source: 1 NEWS