Auckland on track for one-in-1000-year drought

Auckland is on track for a one-in-1000-year drought.

Watercare has revealed the only reason Aucklanders aren't under severe water restrictions is because of COVID-19.

And that goes for Coromandel too. Farmers in the Coromandel too are struggling to feed stock after months without rain.

Coromandel dairy farmer Neil Gray is hoping for heavy rain - his cracked and dry paddocks are the result of severe drought.

"To make a significant impact on our soil moisture levels, we need a good shot of rain," he told Newshub.

Gray stopped milking his cows early this year.

They should be grazing on grass to produce milk that's up to standard but his pastures have suffered in the heat and instead he's relying on silage.

And with a backlog at the meat works because of the constraints of social distancing, culling stock early to lighten the load hasn't been an option either.

"I had stock booked in at the end of January, and I've only just got rid of the last of them two days ago," he told Newshub.

As well as the Coromandel, Auckland remains in serious drought too.

It did rain this week but in fact water levels dropped again. Our total water storage is now down below half.

"It's not raining where we want it to rain," says Watercare CEO Raveen Jaduram.

"Our lake storage is in the Hunuas and the Waitakeres, and we've only received 35 percent of the rainfall we would usually receive."

On a dry day Aucklanders are using around 460 million litres of water. But on a rainy day that drops to 425 million - and that's the level they need to stick to if they don't want serious restrictions.

Watercare says Aucklanders looking for lockdown tasks are still washing cars or waterblasting on sunny days.

"We're also a little concerned that when we get into level 3 [alert], some of the businesses will start and so demand will grow," Jaduram says.

And without a major change in rainfall the city is on track for a one in 1000 year drought.

"It does look like much of New Zealand is probably going to see close to near-normal rainfall, but really what we're looking for are those pockets of above normal rainfall and they may be few and far between," NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says.

That's no help for Auckland's water supply or for farmers like Neil Gray who are still waiting for the rain to come.