Drought declared in Buller and Grey districts on the West Coast
Prolonged dry conditions have prompted the Government to declare a drought in two districts of the South Island’s West Coast.
They are the first South Island districts to be declared in drought this summer and follow parts of the lower North Island declared just before Christmas.
* Farmers pin hopes on rain forecast to hit South Island’s West Coast * Santa fails to deliver drought-breaking rain to lower North Island * First drought declared on West Coast * Dry spell prompts West Coast council to ask residents to conserve water An "extremely wet winter" left many farmers unable to grow pasture or crops for spring.
"We are keeping a watching brief on neighbouring areas."
It is the second time the Buller and Grey districts have been declared as being in drought – the first was in April 2013.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) figures show, as of 9am Tuesday, soil in much of the region was drier than normal.
On January 2, Reefton residents were placed on water restrictions due to "low reservoir levels and higher than normal usage", the Buller District Council said.
Other measures could include tax flexibility and income help.
The classification would last six months unless things changed substantially.
MetService issued forecast rain in Westland and Buller from overnight Wednesday to early Friday, and above-average rainfall across the West Coast for the rest of January.