Alarming new data on groundwater in Central Hawke's Bay shows the levels are the lowest ever recorded in November.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's principal hydrologist, Jeff Smith, said a reading from the settlement of Ongaonga, taken about 4m below ground, showed extremely low levels normally seen only in January.
Ongaonga farmer Alistair Setter said he was seeing unprecedented water issues in the district.
"Springs and waterways are going dry that have never been known to go dry," Setter said.
He said part of the Waipawa River bed had gone dry in mid-October, when it normally dried out near Christmas. Read more