A drought is generally defined as a shortage of rainfall over an extended period of time, which restricts or prevents a human activity. This can lead to a reduced volume of water in water bodies such as rivers, dry ground and a lack of plant growth. These impacts affect activities such as agriculture and power generation, and can have flow on effects to other sectors of the community.
Because the main impact of a drought is often on agriculture, the Ministry for Primary Industries will declare when a dry period is classed as a drought.
Changes in weather patterns can affect the likelihood of drought in our region. Both El Niño and La Niña phases of the Southern Oscillation weather pattern can cause droughts around the country, however an El Niño pattern is more likely to cause droughts in the Waikato region. It has also been predicted that climate change will increase the frequency, severity and length of droughts.
What you can do
Try to conserve water
Water is a precious resource and should be conserved, not only during times of drought.