Much of the country has been facing water restrictions after the early dry season. Even the usually rain-soaked West Coast has had to declare drought conditions.
Horticulture NZ president Julian Raine said that near Nelson -the oldest city on the South Island- fruit and vegetable growers had gotten close to having to start, either sacrificing certain crops in favour of others -a potential long-term loss of income- or to water everything sparingly and lose fruit in the short term.
With most of January, and February -the hottest month- still to come, Mr Raine said people are worried the water supply would run dry again soon. He told radionz.co the community was planning a dam for irrigation as well as an urban supply near Waimea. "We along with Tasman District Council, Nelson City Council and the irrigators are looking at putting in quite a sizeable dam to protect Nelson for the next 100 years."