Press Release – Auckland Council
Across Auckland, extreme weather conditions are proving challenging. Auckland Council operational teams are working closely with emergency response experts to mitigate risk in problem areas.
There is a total fire ban across Auckland and restrictions are in place including the use of solid fuel (coal, wood) at home.
Sports fields, wildlife, parks and even domestic gardens are all under pressure. Aucklanders should also be aware of the following issues:
Fire risk in public open space
· Grass and trees in all local, sports and regional parks are extremely dry.
· We are appealing to the public to take a common sense approach when visiting our parks – observe the total fire ban, do not use solid fuel or disposable barbecues, do not light fires and discard cigarettes responsibly (remembering that our regional parks and many of our local parks, sports fields, skate parks and playgrounds are smoke-free).
· In an emergency dial 111 or, if you see someone ignoring the fire ban, phone council on 09 301 0101.
· Recent severe weather conditions are having a severe impact on Auckland’s sports fields.
· Across Auckland, sports fields are showing signs of extreme stress and dryness. In the south, this has almost reached crisis point.
· All natural sports fields are affected including existing fields, those under construction, soil fields and sand carpet fields.
· Staff and contractors are constantly monitoring conditions and looking at fields on a case by case basis.
· Watering systems and irrigators are being moved around the region to provide more relief to driest areas.
· Parks’ staff are keeping clubs and sports organisations informed about how these conditions are being managed and potential implications of the drought.
· We are working under very difficult circumstances but are focused on getting as much sport underway in April as we possibly can, without destroying our fields.
· Lack of rain, new growth and food sources is having an effect on vulnerable birds and animals in our wilderness areas.
· If you come across a sick or dehydrated bird or animal, please do not move or touch it. If in a regional park, visit the ranger office, or in a local park phone 09 301 0101.
· We can’t improve the moisture or food sources in our forested areas but we can remain vigilant and help any birds and animals that are found to be in distress.
Looking after your plants and gardens
· Collect grey water from your washing machine in a bin or bucket and use it to water the garden. Do your research first and check that the cleaning products you are using will be safe for your garden.
· Make your own drip watering system by putting holes in the bottom of the bucket.
· Drip watering offers better absorption and gets water to the roots of the plant.
· Water in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler, as less water will evaporate.
· Plant selection is paramount. Choose plants suited to the climate and plant in the right place.
· Use bark, lawn clippings, straw bales or newspaper to mulch and make sure ground is well watered before putting mulch down.
Farmed regional parks:
· The severest impacts are on eastern headlands like Shakespear, Mahurangi, Omana, Duder, Waitawa and Tapapakanga. Lack of rain, high temperatures and wind means pasture is sparse and low quality.
· Decisions early in the season to sell surplus lambs, cull ewes and sell finished cattle has helped to manage stock numbers
· Winter feed (hay and haylage) is being used to supplement dry pastures where required.
· Considering these challenges, stock are in good condition.
· The main impacts will be pasture re-growth before winter, lambing percentages (drought affects fertility) and wool quality.
For emergencies call 111 or for more general assistance call the council on 09 301 0101.