- By Annette Lambly and Mike Dinsdale
- 23rd Feb 2013 6:00 AM
Northland rural leaders could ask the Government to declare the region an official drought zone for the third time in four summers.
A Northland Rural Support Trust meeting on Tuesday will assess whether the majority of the region (north of the Harbour Bridge) is affected enough for drought action.
Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said the group was assessing the impact the dry spell was having on the majority of the Northland region to decide whether it was drought time.
An official drought was declared in Northland in January 2010 and again the next summer in December 2010.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) says soil moisture levels are so low the region is dry enough to be considered a drought zone again.
Figures from the Northland Regional Council show that, so far this year, 19.6mm of rain has fallen in Whangarei compared with the average of 220mm; In Dargaville 22.6mm has fallen compared with the 163mm average; 34mm in Kaikohe (222mm); 46mm in Kerikeri (121mm), and 16mm in Kaitaia (174mm).
Ms Jonker said there were still “patchy areas” which weren’t as badly off as others in the region, but farms in Dargaville, Warkworth and the Far North were already suffering from severe soil moisture deficit.