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Pure clear water

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, February 21st, 2020 - 44 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Environment, local government, nz first, Shane Jones, supercity, uncategorized, water - Tags:

It’s probably time to notice why Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund had to step in and provide several million of funding to patch up the water supply emergency in Northland.

We are in the most serious drought the upper North Island has had in recorded history, so it’s no surprise the entire system is showing strain alongside the land, the people and the animals.

In a small country with poor resources such as ours, it is nothing short of a miracle that we have such massive water storage facilities that have been built up over a century.

The dams formed in the previous century are now in the hands of corporations and are used largely for electricity generation and irrigation. They will enable that the South Island effectively never runs dry, never runs out of electricity, and will always be agriculturally productive.

Not so in the North Island.

By a long, long way, we are learning the hard way that there is not enough water storage nor facilities to process that water for human consumption. The Provincial Growth Fund is having to step in time and again to get water storage going where the planning and public investing should have been done decades earlier.

Now let’s contrast and compare Auckland’s water situation with that of Northland.

Auckland put out a discussion document on the future of water for the Auckland region. It showed that Aucklanders are on average pretty efficient in water use even when compared to some of the major Australian cities. It also forecast that Auckland’s increase growth – and growth in demand for water – would likely be sourced from further take from the Waikato River.

So in terms of proximity to a massive water source, Auckland is simply lucky.

It was also lucky to inherit through amalgamation the dams that had been built in the Waitakeres and Hunuas built in the 20th century.

But the amalgamation of Auckland also amalgamated all the local water retailers and the bulk water supplier into one entity. This amalgamation has enabled comprehensive planning for well into the future. Also the water is metered and priced, so it’s really easy to let consumers do the job of minimising use.

Northland has one regional council and a good few smaller councils. They don’t appear to cooperate that much, and they are poor because they represent mostly poor areas. They don’t have the rating base to think up and execute major projects.

Until such an extreme event as this drought occurred, there just wasn’t much need to look over the fence and cooperate together on water supply.

So now there is, and after this drought there always will be.

At the end of January, $12.7 million was allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund to the Northland Regional Council to really explore future water storage options. For intensive agriculture in the Kaipara.

That’s just not going to assist in drinking water for the good people of Dargaville – even though the announcement was made in Dargaville by Winston Peters who did all his High School there, and by Shane Jones who is from the Far North.

The Kaipara District Council is still struggling to pay for its disastrous but slowly recovering wastewater facility in Mangawhai Heads. Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith said that while the PGF funding was hugely significant for Kaipara’s economy, it would not help municipal supply.

Smith said water storage for Dargaville homes could cost up to $15 million, which was too expensive for a ratepayer base of just 7,000 and was already struggling to pay off the $63 million Mangawhai wastewater scheme.

As Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta observed in 2018 there’s no agenda to require local councils to amalgamate their water entities to get a bit more scale. However, she noted that it was part of a longer conversation needed with local government which owns most of the water assets and which faces wide-ranging funding challenges and capability issues, particularly in rural and provincial areas, and that “councils in a number of areas have voluntarily been looking at the pros and cons of collaborative arrangements in Hawkes Bay, Wellington, the Waikato and top of the south.”

A while back there was loose talk of Watercare taking over management of Kaipara’s water system – or indeed the whole of Northland. It’s a very small set of reticulated networks compared to what Watercare operates across the Auckland region already.

This drought certainly makes those in New Zealand who criticised Australia for lack of preparedness due to climate change just last month look pretty damn arrogant and stupid.

This could be a hinge moment for climate change effects and their response in New Zealand. It looks like there’s nothing in the forecast for the first two weeks of March either. This is big.

You won’t see any public water storage sold off under this government.

Nor will you see forced amalgamations of Council water entities.

Nor will you see water priced, nor compulsory metering.

Nor any banging of heads of some compulsory regional-plus-local forecasting and planning and doing. Leastways not yet.

You will see more funding for industrial storage, and some patch-up funding for emergency supply because Councils failed to plan, and then just simply failed.

With so many options ruled out, the solutions to durable water supply for Northland’s towns is getting narrower by the day.

And this doesn’t yet have an end.

44 comments on “Pure clear water ”

  1. dv 1

    AND yet we give water away to bottle companies!!!

    • Andre 1.1

      The amount of water that bottling companies take is trivial on the scale of water supplies for communities.

      To be sure, the perception of clean and pure that the bottling companies use to sell that water derives from the commons environment belonging to us all. So the bottling companies should be obliged to share some of that value back towards maintaining what gives it value. By way of a hefty royalty. But that really is a separate issue to bulk water supplies running short.

  2. WeTheBleeple 2

    'South Island will never run dry'

    What absolute nonsense.

  3. Adrian 3

    Dry Januarys and dry Februarys are not unusual in Marlborough having two back to back is circumstance and has happened many times before., for instance the Wine Festival day was chosen because no record of rain ever falling on the 2nd Saturday in February could be found even going back as far as 100 years.. That relativly high average is the result of stray ex-tropical cyclones that pass through in some late Dec/Jan/Feb years. Our summer rain predominately comes from the north. Quite a few have already gone through east of the country and the first one of the season has only just passed through the Tasman, hopefully more will come but as it is a generally mild El Nino/ La Nina year maybe not.

    If you want a good overview of why this is a difficult year for the Aust/NZ region look up boma.govt.au and search the Indian Ocean Dipole, the Indian Oceans EL/LN cycle and see why our weather is affected by even what is happening in the Arabian Sea and the also Southern Annular Mode which is central to our weather and responsible for all those bloody cold wet souwesters out of the Southern Ocean.

    All three are in a phase that is least conducive to "nice"weather. All 3 are ocean currents or in the case of SAM driven by them.

    Janruary rainfall average here 10kms or so from The Pryamid is only about 40-45 mm and Feb not much more.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Thanks for this, it lines up with everything else I've read.

      It's important that climate change activists don't fall into the same error the deniers frequently exploit, cherry picking weather events to make claims about climate.

    • Robert Guyton 3.2

      Grapes are a crop that needs to be irrigated. There are other crops that grow in drier environments that don't require irrigation. There are management practices that result in moister soils year-round. Grape-growing doesn't appear to be one of those practices. Increasingly dry areas would benefit from a change from irrigation-requiring cropping to those that don't. In my opinion.

      • tc 3.2.1

        Chatting with an Ozzie farmer who's over currently.

        He's aghast at our dairying footprint and what it's done to water use etc in areas not actually suited to dairy. That and the debt levels in dairying had him wondering WTF is going on here.

        • Lettuce 3.2.1.1

          Tell him it's the same thing that's going on with the Adani coal mine in Queensland – naked greed with fuck all thought for any environmental implications past making supernormal profits for the owners.

      • Adrian 3.2.2

        With all due respect Robert knowing a bit more about soils than lovely Southland loams might change your take on that. Most of the Marlborough soils are very very shallow clay based top soils ( less than 100mm in places ) over metres and metres of glacial loess which has no waterholding potential at all.

        Visiting Aussies are astounded here when they see gum trees dying, "Mate, gum trees dont die in droughts! ' BTW, big droughts happen here around every 20 years or so or about every 3 El Nino cycles, the last one was in 1999-2001, this one isn't even that nasty, the 1958-59 one was pretty bloody bad.

        Ironicly, the soils in Marlborough vineyards are better than they have been for centuries. We mulch in all our prunings, use lime and local gypsum ( from the salt works ) to break down the clay and along with companion planting and all sorts of other little tricks there is now tilth that never existed before.

        Water is very well managed and there is lots of it down deep or stored from winter run off.

        Come and have a look sometime.

    • Adrian 3.3

      I should have added that our small river in the hills here is holding up better and better every year as every new reservoir goes in. They seem to lift the water table when used for irrigation and can only be filled when runoff is well in excess of winter acquifier requirements.

  4. RedLogix 4

    And Wellington itself looks likely to struggle with it's own ageing infrastructure issues. I suspect part of this is a couple of councillors looking to raise their profile, but the city does have an expensive problem looming.

    Wellington has an especially difficult geography for water supply/waste, the hills create quite high pressure zones that are expensive to manage. This plus a landscape prone to movement means that an ageing system is in need of a dramatic capital replacement program no-one wants to put a number on.

    • ianmac 4.1

      My older sister is restricted to her house with serious mobility problems. She lives on Waiheke Island and depends on her rainwater tank. It is empty with a big backlog of weeks for home tanker delivery. No showers and basin washing.

      Normally Auckland has 185 rain days per month with an average of 103mm per month. Record 40 days without rain. Some rain on Saturday.

      Just putting this up as the effect on the less able can be overlooked.

    • adam 4.2

      FFS redlogix do you get how bad it is in the far north? It's not an aging infrastructure – it's a failed infrastructure and the drought is breaking the back of the region. Talk about wellington and other regions is the distraction game as usual, and this is the usual crap that far north has to put up with.

      Is it because there lots of maori up here? Do we not count because we brown and so far from wellington?

      The drought and infrastructure are failing now! But no, let's do the normal and talk about wellington because its way more fucking important.

      P.S. It's hot, it's been hot for a bloody long time and I'm watching everything die around me – please, just once can people stay on topic – it's bad up here – it's worse than you are being told. And I'm a bit grumpy – so please don't take this as a personal attack.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        I hear you … I was only pointing out that water infrastructure problems exist everywhere albeit in different forms and severities. Right now Northland has an acute drought induced shortfall as well as a lack of decent resourcing long term.

        By contrast Wellington, while reasonably well served on the supply side has encountered an unfortunate series of major leaks on the sewerage side.

        In my 8 year experience working in the industry Ad nails it when he references the failure of govt to force mergers, smaller councils really struggle to fund and retain the people needed to run a modern water system, so they finish up contracting out a lot of specialist services which in my view is often poor value for money. (Some contractors are great, but all too often the bid goes to the sucker who made the biggest cockup in pricing the tender.)

        NZ has literally dozens of water supply entities for a population of 5m, while the UK has only 14 last time I looked. Here in NZ they should have been rolled up into the Regional Council scale, but almost always parochial local interests vociferously objected and little was achieved.

        • tc 4.2.1.1

          +100 "….but almost always parochial local interests vociferously objected and little was achieved…."

          Keep going, sewage, roads, services and a system that allows egocentric mayors/councillors to hide behind closed door flipping the bird.

          Waikato DC mayor Allan Sanson take a bow.

        • adam 4.2.1.2

          I'm all for watercare taking over the far north, as they have done a reasonably decent job in auckland.

          I think this might be the point where merger of water management has to happen, in the far north at least.

          Lip service has gotta stop being paid to this region.

          The hospital is going to make the press next, the way this drought is putting pressure on the whole hospital system. They are in trouble. Soon, a very sad headline will be coming from the hospital. The doctors, nurses and other support staff are just looking worn out, and budget restrictions are being felt on the service delivery end of things.

        • veutoviper 4.2.1.3

          From you far offsite position in Queensland, RL, it may seem that "Wellington seems likely to struggle with it's own ageing infrastructure issues" and has "an expensive problem looming" – but from my position in the midst of it in south Wellington the problems are not in the future, they are very much in the here and now and have been evident for years.

          My property, which I have owned for over 25 years and has been in family ownership for over 65 years, has had several instances over that time of breaks in the water mains etc affecting many properties in the street.

          I have been in dispute with Wellington Water for months now in relation to my latest problem – a swimming pool under my house for almost a year where it used to be bone dry. This has been put down to a leak/break in the water mains outside my property at the juncture of services from a private street immediately opposite my property joining the mains in my street.

          Wellington Water are in complete denial of this problem despite evidence from plumbers and others who have inspected the situation – no broken pipes etc on my property and my water table has risen considerably over the period. When fibre was being put in a couple of months ago, pumping equipment had to be brought in as the escavations continually filled with water – which the contractors had not expected. While some of us have too much water, others in the street have the opposite – periods of no water etc etc.

          These problems are not looming as you suggest – they have existed for years and in many areas around the city where the aging infrastructure has been neglected for years/ decades.

          In respect to your comment that you suspect that "a couple of councillors" may be "looking to raise their profile" – do you actually know any of them? I suspect not, but for those of us in the midst of this they are actually doing what we voted them in to do – helping us sort out problems with issues such as this.

          • adam 4.2.1.3.1

            veutoviper ffs, like I said above you have an infrastructure which is working, allbe it pitifully, but it is working.

            Don't you get the far north has not got that luxury?

            This is region where the underfunding is historically chronic, and is at the point of cataclysmic collapse because of this drought. I know my usual hyperbole, but this time I'm really worried that what is left might just all collapse.

            p.s. please note hot, grumpy and please don't take it as a personal attack – it's not. Just hot, grumpy. That said, on a personal note – I hope the muppets from wellington water get that pool out from under your house, that is not healthy.

          • RedLogix 4.2.1.3.2

            Up until the 2013 earthquake the water supply side loss rate was about the same as most comparable cities. I don't know for certain what the numbers are now, but I strongly suspect that quake created a lot of long term damage that is taking years to show up.

            • veutoviper 4.2.1.3.2.1

              We had plenty of problems in south Wellingotn long before 2013 – eg had a major one in my street just after I moved back in about 1994 and can recall problems elsewhere in the suburb continually since I've been back. Local plumbers (there are many) reckon there have been problems since about the 1960s on, many of which have been ignored. The earthquakes over recent years have added to this, but are not the only cause, according to those (plumbers etc) who have been around for decades. The older plans for the area (both for overall infrastructure and individual properties) are also abysmal which does not help.

              • RedLogix

                I'm sorry to read that. I was never directly involved in the residential distribution side of the business, but from experience interfacing with WCC's water people it doesn't surprise me much that they would have problems with some of the older parts of the city most remote from the bulk supply sources.

                Part of the problem with aging infrastructure is not just the physical deterioration with time, but that engineering standards and documentation suffer from entropy as well. Then you have to factor in the many dozens of engineering staff involved, hundreds of contractors, thousands of road works and diggings, and endless repairs that have been undertaken over many decades. In the era before computer aided engineering and documentation systems, maintaining accurate paper records was a herculean task.

                Somewhere in the system will be a plan to eventually upgrade the distribution system in your area, but it could be decades away. And sometimes sub-optimal decisions are made for all sorts of stupid 'political' reasons that frustrate the hell out of the tech staff.

                It sounds like you do have a real problem and it needs fixing. If it's water supply leak the water under your house may still have some residual chlorine in it, and it's pretty easy to take a sample and get it tested. Bear in mind if the water has seeped through a lot of ground, then the chlorine content may be all gone, but if you do find some residual (probably <0.2ppm) then it's proof positive you have a leak and they're much more likely to act.

        • veutoviper 4.2.1.4

          Wellington Water is an amalgam at basically Regional Council level as you talk about in your last para. Not sure that I would hold them up as a shining example of anything quite frankly … https://www.wellingtonwater.co.nz/about-us/history-of-wellington-water/

        • Alice Tectonite 4.2.1.5

          Agree way to many water supply entities, especially when 3 cover around half the population (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch).

          Can only think of two recent examples where a small poorly resourced district has voluntarily merged its water operations with larger neighbour – Waikato District (with Auckland/Watercare) & South Wairarapa District (with Wellington Water), both happened last year.

          Maybe Northland's issues will force it up there. Certainly need to sort something out.

      • veutoviper 4.2.2

        adam

        Just wanted to say that I was not trying to also divert from Northland's problems which the post is about. I just was not prepared to let the remarks about Wellington's problems being "looming" go. Our problems down here are very much in the 'here and now' also but of a different nature etc. I love Northland and would love to live there, but too late in life now.

        Kia kaha to Northland and I am just pleased that the Jonesy funds are there and hope more can be used to help Northland – after all that is what they are for.

        • adam 4.2.2.1

          I replied to your post in my usual usual hyperbolic tone, then saw this one.

          Again – that water under you house needs to be sorted. It's really unhealthy, and as I know your health is not 100%, I'm now pissed off and grumpy about that water under your house.

          These people take out taxes (rates money) and need to do their job. They have the equipment, fiber optic cameras etc, they should get off their bums and use it.

          And yes the far north is lovely, I think is why this is so damn maddening and sad.

      • Ad 4.2.3

        I was tempted for a second to make it a nationwide post, then decided discretion was the better part of valor.

  5. WeTheBleeple 5

    Water Water Everywhere (remix).

    i.

    2019: In the drought-stricken regions of India, well over a hundred people were killed by heat and a quarter a billion had little to no water. The monsoon season was late; off-season rainfall had dropped; and this is a repeating, while increasing in severity, phenomenon.

    New Zealand is not immune to drought. Recent (2019) calls for Aucklander's to reduce water consumption in mid-winter clearly illustrates the potential exacerbation of water shortages here. While we have no monsoon season there are similarities in water cycles worldwide: after a major rain event, much is lost to surface flow straight back into the ocean. Adding to this: after a period without rain, arable land becomes less permeable to water; and so, the longer the period between rain events, the more water goes back to the ocean.

    2019: After 5 years of drought in Queensland, Australia, farmers rejoiced to finally see rain. What followed was a flood so devastating it killed more than 650 000 cattle, 48 000 sheep, and left a 2-billion-dollar mess in its wake. Topsoil was stripped. Freshwater, estuarine and coastal areas inundated with silt, carcasses and debris. Many farmers lost everything except their mortgages.

    The Great Artesian Basin is a 1.7 million square kilometre sandstone aquifer that lies mostly beneath Queensland. Its springs have supplied water to Aboriginal communities for dozens of millennia. Its discovery only a century ago enabled bore drilling and farming on a scale unprecedented in this semi-arid region. Soon canals criss-crossed the land with water flowing freely from the myriad of bores that had sprung up. By 1999 a sustainability initiative was granted Federal and State funds to help stop the decline of this aquifer.

    What followed was a game of whack-a-mole. As one lot of bores was capped, other previously dried out boreholes opened up. The restoration work continues, but the free-flowing water of Queensland's Farmers no longer flows so freely. Mound springs, paperbark swamps and wetlands have begun to dry up, while water usage continues to increase.

    Roughly two thirds of all rain that falls on land originates from the land. Transpiration of plants and evapotranspiration from terrestrial surfaces account for this. The oceans contribute the rest, which is the same volume that flows back out to sea. This balance (one in one out) changes where the land has become dry &/or plant cover is absent; as is often the case following drought. With plant transpiration and evapotranspiration severely curtailed, rainfall might drop considerably.

    It is predicted that both drought and rainfall events will increase in severity for NZ's climate, thus setting the stage for more flooding, yet less water returned to the land. What we require are mitigation strategies that address drought, flooding and aquifer recharge at once.

    "Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,

    The glorious Sun uprist:

    Then all averred, I had killed the bird

    That brought the fog and mist." – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    ii.

    New Zealand's hydrological cycles are intrinsically linked to our power supply. Where weather patterns are altered due to climate change, our power supply (and waterways) may likewise be altered.

    In dry periods, rivers and streams are fed by groundwater flow, that portion of rain that penetrates the surfaces it falls on. Groundwater flow is orders of magnitude slower than overland flow, and so, after extended periods of drought, one might still observe rivers and streams with running water. The total aboveground storage of freshwater (rivers, lakes, wetlands) is only about 1% of total freshwater; while groundwater storage accounts for 25%.

    Aquifers are groundwater storage replenished via groundwater flow percolating down through soils and the base of aboveground water storages. Recharge rates are dependant on levels of rainfall, ground permeability, and rates of aquifer depletion. Wherever pumping of aquifer water exceeds recharge rates, aquifers are depleted.

    Mitigation of both drought and flood requires the slowing down and capture of rainfall. A portion of the rain returning to sea needs to be slowed and/or trapped: allowing it to percolate down into groundwater flow and aquifers. This replenishes aquifers and maintains steady flows for our streams, rivers and hydro generation. Using whole catchment methods involving tree planting and incorporating small, but multiple earthworks and above ground storages slows and trap rain.

    A decrease in overland flow reduces severity of flood events in lower catchments. Additionally, the transpiration of trees has the potential to mitigate damage from multiple rain events through increasing the volume/time required for saturation of a landscape to be achieved. Added to this are the valuable products, aesthetics and ecosystem services generated with the creation of such systems.

    Where plant cover and sufficient water are present on the land plant productivity and carbon storage are increased simultaneously. The carbon pathway from atmosphere through plants to soil organisms and ultimately soil humus turns the soil into a giant sponge capable of retaining water and excess nutrients further increasing fertility and subsequent production. Current agricultural practises including tilling, applications of salt fertilisers, and the wide variety of poisons that come with these systems destroy soil microbiology and leave the land weak and exposed to the vagaries of weather.

    "And every tongue, through utter drought,

    Was withered at the root;

    We could not speak, no more than if

    We had been choked with soot." – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

  6. adam 6

    Thanks for the post Ad.

    It's bad up here. Hard to put into words what it's been like looking around the region, the only word I have is sadness. And a hope we don't get heavy rains, as that will do a lot of damage.

    The one positive seems the councils are actually working together better, and Whangarei Council has been shipping out drinking water from it's dams up north as of last week.

    Been hard going to the farmers markets, you can see the stress written all over people faces.

    If you don't get how bad this climate change thing is going to be, come up north and get a taste.

    • WeTheBleeple 6.1

      I have a friend up north observing key species dying off in the forests. It's really bad. She's had to outsource her nursery (to many helpful locals) just to keep the wee trees alive. A tray or two each, receiving household grey water, it's all they got to spare.

      • adam 6.1.1

        I stopped walking in the forests a few weeks ago, it was just too bloody depressing.

        I've been saving grey water to throw on what is left of my garden, I had been planning on getting some chickens, but that will not be happening soon.

        Last time mowed lawn was in the middle of December – won't even try as I think will kill what lawn we have left.

        I hope the nursery can survive, good on her thinking to outsource for grey water, and well done to the people helping her out – that is some good news.

        • Brigid 6.1.1.1

          Ah that grey water. Bless it.

          It's all that's keeping my plants alive. Bloody hard work though.

          Funny thing is I get quite excited when the kids come to stay as that increases the amount of grey water I can use.

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.2

      Hi Adam. We headed south from Kaitaia about 10 days ago…just when the Level 4 restrictions kicked in.

      Things were getting pretty feral around the campervan dump station…for a wee while they'd even turned off the flushing water.

      And while the good folk of Kaitaia are having to 'let it mellow', the Waiharara and Motutangi Water Users Group are happy as, bathing in the bounty of the Te Aupuori aquifer.

      And it is very likely the NRC, hard arse as they have been over the water take from the Awanui River for Kaitaia's needs, are seriously considering further applications to take water from the Te Aupuori aquifer…a mere 6.2 million cubic meters…if you please.

      Gotta love those avos.

      Here in the Waikato it is not only dry, but hot, hot hot. And very humid.

      And I'm betting those neighbours whose bores dried up in the summer of 2008 will be getting pretty nervous.

      (And the last time they tried sucking water for Kaitaia from the aquifer at Sweetwater…local legend has it the the neighbouring properties lost their bores.)

      • WeTheBleeple 6.2.1

        I think council type mindset may be counting on avocados to bring 'financial relief' (tax income) and save the day – as they are ecologically illiterate bean counters. Where success is measured by such standards catastrophic failure often follows.

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    But we daren't even hint that the dry in the North is connected with anthropogenic climate change, global heating, call it what you will, for fear we'll be decried as ALARMISTS!

  8. WeTheBleeple 8

    Centralised water should be a user pays back up scheme for times like these. Earthworks have seen me garden most of the way through this drought, and other friends are also in a reasonable position, some drawing on town supplies only recently, and only sparingly. Grey water goes on the garden. I'm the only person I know except permies and the drought stricken desperate who use grey water in this, a record drought. Cities and towns full of IMBECILES who are entirely dependent on council looking after them. Roofs aren't collecting, landscapes aren't collecting. No common sense, no plan except to pump aquifers and dam rivers and write terse letters to council when their own personal circumstance is not ideal.

    Idiots with engineering degrees doing the planning, whoopdy fucking do. Soon they'll share their plans of recycling your shit for drinking. I am not kidding.

    1% of freshwater is above-ground storage. 25% is ground storage but we're depleting it rapidly. We could make dam schemes equal to all the freshwater lakes rivers and streams combined, and it would not save us from climate change induced drought. Shove that in your town planning.

    I spelled out above how we are destroying rainfall. Government can take heed or waste money on grand schemes which wont amount to a hill of beans as droughts intensify. Turn the landscape into a sponge, or get the fuck out of the way so others can do it.

    • Alice Tectonite 8.1

      "Soon they'll share their plans of recycling your shit for drinking."

      Indirectly its already happening: Hamilton's effluent discharge is upstream of Auckland's intake …

      Then there's the level of bullshit cowshit involved in water supply in (too) many cases.

  9. Brigid 9

    Yes it's dry here. Mid Northland. It's too hot after 10am to do anything outside.

    The forecast says rain on Saturday which will be the first rain since the beginning of December except for the 10 minute shower late December. The cracks in the ground are an inch wide. If the cockey next door's grass has been growing at the rate ours has I'm surprised he's still milking. Lawn's been mowed once since December.

    I've never known it like this before. However the local arbourist declares "Oh it's always hot and dry in summer". He's young – 30ish, I wonder what he'll be saying when he's 60.

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