Any day now…

DSC_0060smOkay, it’s allowed to rain now.

Any day would be fine.

Just a little?

And maybe something a bit cooler than t-shirt and shorts weather to go with it?

Please?

Six years ago, the beginning of May looked like the picture above—we called it the black days of May. That was a bit too much rain, but normally we’ve had some good rain by the beginning of May.

Not so, this year. This year, it’ll be the brown days of May. We had plans to do a lot of landscaping this fall, but the soil is still bone dry—new plants wouldn’t stand a chance, even if we could water them. Almost every bit of promised rain has failed to materialise. The little that has fallen has evaporated within a day under summer-like heat.

2016-05-03 10.26.14It feels like summer will never end.

I’m still watering the garden, though the summer crops have mostly given up out of drought and exhaustion. The winter crops are likely to bolt in this weather, even with watering.

And who knows how long I’ll be able to water. It hardly rained last winter, and last summer was particularly dry, too. Canterbury water is over-allocated. The water table is dropping, and some people have already had to deepen their wells. How long before we run out?

Water is still being managed for short-term profit here—to ensure maximum output of dairy and crops. Environmental concerns and future supply are given lip service. That will come back to bite us. Climate change models predict less rain for Canterbury. If we keep on like this, at some point, we will run out.

Do we have the will to change before that happens? Experience in other parts of the world says no.

I do my best to conserve water here—using greywater to water plants, watering sparingly, mulching heavily, planting shrubs that can handle the dry—but I’m a tiny player, surrounded by farms hundreds of times the size of my property. The water I conserve is just a drop in the bucket.

A drop in the bucket would be nice about now. But the meteorologists are predicting no rain at all for the month of May in Canterbury.

 

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