Warning for Otago farmers as dry weather sets in

Otago farmers and other land users are being asked to conserve water, as the region continues to dry out.

Otago Regional Council said some areas are very dry, and there is little rain on the long-term weather forecast.

"We want to remind people who irrigate to be mindful of their water use consent conditions and responsibilities, and to actively monitor how much water they are taking," said ORC manager of environmental services, Martin King. 

He said a long dry spell last summer with people carrying out voluntary water rostering meant restrictions weren't needed.

"Thanks to people working together, we avoided the needed to stop water takes," he said.

"Our team has increased our monitoring of water levels in rivers from monthly to fortnightly so we can make sure our live data is accurate."

Mr King said low river levels can cause river plants and aquatic life to become stressed or die, and can raise river temperatures, potentially encouraging algae growth.