Heat wave

This December has been very hot so far in many places in New Zealand. Christchurch was very hot today with a temperature of 33 degrees and Hanmer Springs, which is in inland Canterbury, reached 35 degrees. Parts of Central Otago have experienced very high temperatures in the last few weeks.

Many of us are happy that summer fruit is ripening early; cherries are now ready for picking two weeks earlier than usual and plenty of strawberries are available in the shops. The sea temperatures are warmer than usual, so swimmers are enjoying the beaches.

However, there is a downside. Farmers are worried about drought. Southland farmers, for instance, usually have plenty of rain but not this year. A shortage of rain has also meant a shortage of water in some cities. We rely on rain to fill the reservoirs, but some places have had almost no rain for the past 6 weeks. Canterbury, for example, had only 1mm of rain in November. It was the driest November for many years.

Napier city officials called on local people to conserve water not waste it. At this time of year, gardeners like to water their gardens if there has been no rain but people living in Napier are not allowed to do this. Soon, other cities will place restrictions on watering gardens and washing cars, if there is no rain.

Cooler weather is likely next week but this may not bring rain.


• heat wave – a period of unusually hot weather
• to ripen (v), ripe (adj) – when fruit is ready to eat
• a downside – negative side to something good
• drought – a period of no rain (note pronunciation which rhymes with “out”)
• to rely on – depend on
• reservoirs – places which store water eg a lake or a large concrete tank
• to call on – to ask (idiom), to order someone to do something in a nice way e.g Please conserve water
• conserve – save by not using too much e.g conserve your strength by resting
• restrictions – limits e.g. only water gardens before 6am