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PHENOMENAL DROUGHT

Droughts are comparatively rare in New Zealand, wfyere climate and rainfall are normally as equable and regular as anywhere in the world, but when real droughts do occur they are serious, for the soil of the country is not naturally adapted to resist the effects of continued dry weather. The present drought, which has lasted practically since January, seems to be almost the worst on

s record, certainly within living y memory. The level of rivers fed by s rainfall is a reliable - gauge, and i rivers of this character all over New n Zealand are reported to be abnormally low. The Hutt River, the most V familiar to the Wellington public, is i said to be shallower than any living P person can recollect, being only about knee-deep at the road bridge. As the Hutt River drains a considerable area, with a number of V tributaries and headwaters running for a long distance in virgin bush, this is some indication of the dryness i of this part of the country. Similar i reports come to hand in regard to other and larger rivers like 1 the Manawatu, Rangitikei, and Wanganui. It is clear that the country has J become parched in the extreme. For > the farmer the outlook for the .j winter, now not far off, is depressing. Even if rain came soon, there would " hardly be time before the onset of s wintry weather for the growth of . sufficient feed to carry the stock r through. There is no hope of overj. taking the pronounced drop in dairy production. This is bound to make a difference in the return from exports and to accentuate financial difficulties. The drought lias also revealed the grave deficiencies in the household water-supply of many semi-suburban and country areas dependent on tanks and surface , sources. The large and growing population in the Wellington district ' will demand early consideration in 5 this respect with a view to a'compre- / hensive water scheme.

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PHENOMENAL DROUGHT Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 90, 18 April 1939

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