Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The drought in Wellington

Something is with the Hutt River

I have been following what is happening with the Hutt River over the last couple of summers which have been very dry.  This el-Nino summer has not brought the windy, rainy weather that NIWA was predicting just back in December.  We have had hot weather (in fact a record for Wellington, I think) where temperatures have not dropped below the 20's for several weeks on end.

It has become very dry - although perhaps less so than I might have expected although we are far from out of the dry season and if past winters are anything to go by there will be little improvement.

The main thing I notice, however, is the strange flow of the river just north of where we live and south of the Lower Hutt CBD.

The flow of the river practically stops at this point and there are two large areas of shingle affecting the flow of the river. There has been a lot of aggradation in the river.

The response of the authorities in the area of the river that has been modified a lot, as the river gets higher due to aggradation is to make the stopbanks bigger, remove trees and houses - all in preperation for the 100 -year flood.

A developer's wetdream.

As for drought, which is a reality  the whole area keeps taking water from the river as if there was no tomorrow (which may in fact be the case) without any regard to water quality or the fish that inhabit the river.

Every year during summer we have a growing problem with toxic algae - a reflection, I would imagine, of reduced river flow and heat.

Just have a look at the strange flow of water in the video..

South of the bridge towards the sea the flow of the river is quite healthy and there are no algae, so we can safely take our dog swimming.

We took a drive north. It is very pictureque but there is very little flow in the river in parts.

If you look at photos without comparison it seems everything is OK. The river's still flowing, isn't it?  But a loser look gives reason for real concern, especially if you pay attention to global, not just local, conditions

1 comment:

  1. Is there any group involved in any action work to protect the Hutt River? I agree entirely. When I arrived to Lower Hutt 16 years ago, the river was a very very different, and healthier, ecosystem. Too much water is being removed, and too much "tampering", and I think we are dangerously close to reaching the tipping point of a river disaster and all that that entails.