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Wet enough in 2010 to fill 10 Lake Taupos
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  06 October 2011

Water Physical Stock Account 1995–2010  –  Media Release

It was wetter than usual in New Zealand, in 2009 and 2010, after four relatively dry years, Statistics New Zealand said today.

In 2010, over 613,000 gigalitres (one gigalitre is one billion litres) of precipitation fell on New Zealand, enough to fill Lake Taupo 10 times over. (Precipitation is any form of water that falls to the planet’s surface, such as rain, snow, sleet, and hail.) However, 2010 was still some way behind 1996, the wettest year in the last 16, with over 701,000 gigalitres of precipitation.

In 2010, New Zealand’s dairy cattle drank an estimated 113 gigalitres of water, enough to fill roughly 90 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day of the year. “Dairy cattle now drink more water than all other livestock put together,” national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said. “Since 1995, dairy cattle drinking-water requirements have increased by almost 50 percent, primarily due to the significant growth of the national dairy herd.”

These are some of the statistics reported in Water Physical Stock Account: 1995–2010, released by Statistics NZ today. This report provides information on New Zealand’s national water balance, based on information from the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, GNS Science, and agricultural sector organisations.

Other statistics record that between 1995 and 2010, groundwater volumes changed less than 1 percent, despite significant fluctuations in New Zealand’s precipitation. About 70 percent of New Zealand’s groundwater is located in the Canterbury region, one of New Zealand’s drier regions.

The report is part of a series of environmental accounts that is used to monitor the interaction between the economy and the environment. All years refer to June years. The full report, including regional and national statistics, is available on the Statistics NZ website at Water Physical Stock Account: 1995–2010.

Geoff Bascand 6 October 2011
Government Statistician
END

For media enquiries contact:
Stephen Oakley
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

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