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DROUGHT SERIOUS

"* PARCHED COUNTRY

RAIN BADLY NEEDED

The drought in many parts of tho country is 'already serious, and unless copious rain falls soon the outlook will be desperate, the farmer being confronted with ruined crops and with little prospects of feed for stock. The water shortage problem is acute in many districts already and will become worse, added to which there is the menace of bush fires. No one in "Wellington neecis to bo told that a drought is on. Only one point of rain has fallen this month, and only eleven points since November 22. November's rainfall amounted only to 158 points, the average of previous Novembers being nearly twice as much. November last year was even drier, only 132 points of rain falling, but during December last year 260 points fell, a trifle more than tho monthly average. Up to this date last year December's rainfall had amounted to 126 points, 114 of which fell on the Bth. Th.c prospects of an inch or more of rain falling in. the near future, and even more than that is now desperately required, are^remote. New Zealand for a long time has been under the influence of anticyclone, weather. Any promising depressions which might normally be expected to bring rain have either lost intensity or completely filled up before reaching the Dominion in their passage across the Tasman Sea, and promises of rain have therefore not been fulfilled. Pressure in the tropics appears to have been below normal for some time past, which is "another factor operating in favour of a drought. POSITION IN MARLBOEOUOH. : The driest part of the Dominion at the present time is undoubtedly the Maryborough district. In some parts of that province the rainfall has been deficient for the last three years, and with the present dry spell the accumulated effect of successive dry seasons 'is very marked. The water supply of Blenheim itself is lasting well; but in the Wairau and Awatere districts the position is one of serious gravity. Pea and other crops have been ruined from lack of water, and there is a scarcity of feed. Practically all the smaller creeks have run dry and water from the river has bflPfl carted for'months past. , ' • The Taranaki district, too, is unusually dry for this time- of year and rain is badly needed. Harvesting operations aro well advanced, but pasture growth is now at a standstill and the outlook for stock is not promising. Those, who depend upon rain ' water tanks for supplies are experiencing a shortage of water, and many creeks, too, are running dry. The larger rivers in Taranaki, as elsewhere, are Very low. The Wairarapa is also badly in need of good soaking rain if there is to be any feed for stock. Drying ■ winds have accentuated the shortage in rainfall. "The drought," remarked bno farmer, "is going to hit us harder than the depression if rain does not come soon." The wheat, areas of Canterbury have not all fared the same as regards rainfall, some having had more than others. North Canterbury is worse off than South Canterbury, pastures and crops in the former area being very backward. The quality of Canterbury lamb this yenr is likely to suffer, and there is not likely to bo anything in tho way of a record in tho wheat yield. , , Mining on the "West Coast of the South Island.has been affected by the dry weather, some of the rivers being too low to allow dredges to work, The most serious bush fire so far reported is that whiehhas destroyed several hundred acres of bush in the Marlborough Sounds. If ■, the dry weather continues, careless campers and holiday-makers during the Christmas holidays will probably \bo the cause of other fires of large dimensions. So dry is the undergrowth at the present time that once a .fire is started it is a matter of great. difficulty to check it. :.■■■: ■ ' i. ■■--■• ■''

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DROUGHT SERIOUS Evening Post, Volume CXVI, Issue 143, 14 December 1933

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