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News in brief January 26, 2023

Aquifer search

A helicopter will be flying over Ruamahanga Valley from next Monday to scan for aquifers, the layers of gravel or sand that hold or transport water below ground. The helicopter is equipped with special mapping equipment and will take six to eight weeks to complete its task, depending on the weather. Climate change projections suggest Wairarapa’s average temperatures will keep increasing in the coming decades, potentially resulting in water shortages. It’s hoped the insights gained from this project will increase understanding of the interconnections between groundwater and surface water, and enable better decisions about water use.

Ground soaked

Wairarapa soils are significantly more saturated this January than they have been for the past three years, according to National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research [Niwa]. Niwa data indicated Wairarapa soils were much wetter than usual, due to 60mm more rainfall than was normal for this time of year. For January 2020, 2021, and 2022, Wairarapa soils had either dried out or were considered in the range of normal. Niwa said last week featured “generally meagre” rainfall, particularly in parts of Northland, Auckland, the Central Plateau, Wairarapa, and the western North Island, where rainfall totals were typically 5mm or less, and some locations received no rainfall at all. Some of the wettest soils, when compared to what’s normal for this time of the year, were found in Wairarapa. Other areas with unusually wet soils include eastern Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, western Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Hawke’s Bay.

Planned outage

Powerco will shut off power to 103 residents today to replace a power pole. The outage will be for seven hours, from 8.45am-4pm, and will affect properties on Maringi, Coopers, Stoddarts, Mangarei, Te Ore Ore Bideford, Mangapurupuru, Glendonald, Waiwiri, Wainuimapu, and Tanglewood roads.

Masterton quake

Masterton residents have been shaken with Geonet recording a weak earthquake yesterday within 5km of the town. The magnitude 2.4 quake was recorded at 2.09pm. Four people reported feeling the earthquake, which was at a depth of 11km.

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