Driest year for Southland in almost half a century

Southland has had its driest year for almost half a century.

The Southland Regional Council says rainfall data for 2017 showed the region received only 79 percent of its usual rainfall, and some areas received much less.

It says that made the year the driest for the region since 1971.

The Clifden area got 413mm less rainfall than its average, and Mokoreta was at a 13-year low.

The council says aquifer levels in lowland Southland, including Edendale, are at record lows and are still declining.

Gore residents are being warned they are close to a total ban on watering and car washing.

Level three water restrictions have been in place in the Southland town since mid-December, but river levels are exceptionally low.

Southland last year recorded its driest year since 1971.

The Gore district council said water usage dropped over the Christmas - New Year period, but it will be watching closely as people return home from holidays.

It is calling on residents and businesses to use water sparingly until rains come.

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