Preparing for Summer in Tararua - What is El Nino and how to prepare

25 October 2023

Preparing for Summer in Tararua

You may have heard the term ‘El niño’ and are wondering what it is and how it may affect you. In short, El niño is a weather pattern that affects the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes causing sea temperatures to rise more than usual. This warm water affects the weather all over the world. It can make some places really hot and dry, while in other areas, it can bring heavy rains and even flooding. We have experienced significant heavy rains and flooding throughout winter and now we are preparing ourselves for what the summer may bring.

What should we expect in Tararua?

In New Zealand, we tend to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer which can encourage dryness in eastern areas like ours. In NIWA’s latest seasonal climate outlook for October – December 2023, they are predicting that increasing westerly winds are expected to be a theme in spring, summer and possibly autumn. Therefore, it is important we prepare ourselves for a potentially dry summer.

How can I prepare?

Here are some things you can do now in preparation:

Harvest rainwater – Use containers like barrels or cisterns to store rainwater, providing a sustainable source for watering your gardens.

Preparing your garden – apply a layer of mulch to your garden. This helps to retain water, so it requires less watering.

Fix leaks – check your water fixtures and address any leaks so we can minimise water wastage.

Water conservation – Initiate water-saving habits in your daily routine. Easy ways to conserve water include taking shorter showers, only run washing machines with full loads, and refrain from leaving taps running while brushing your teeth or rinsing dishes.

Rural preparation – If you’re a farmer or own a lifestyle block, it’s important to start planning ahead. Make sure you have enough food for your animals and that they can easily access clean water to drink.