The southern and western edges of Hawke's Bay are now considered to be in "meteorological" drought as the driest four months in the mountains in 50 years hits those sitting under them.
Those west of State Highway 50 through Central Hawke's Bay meet Niwa's New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) threshold while most of the rest of the region is sitting at the level below it - extremely dry.
Tararua district was placed in official drought on Friday.
Most areas of Hawke's Bay received less than 10 per cent of the usual rainfall for February.
"It is hot, and it is dry. We have a season which is delivering to us what we have been worried about, and what we've been trying to communicate to each other, to our Regional Council, and to our government as they look at regional infrastructure investment," CHB Mayor Alex Walker said.
"That being lack of rain, high temperatures, heavily restricted water takes both in rural and residential context, and rivers that are looking and feeling miserable," she said.
The reason rivers in Central Hawke's Bay have taken such a hit is that the Ruahine Ranges have had their driest four-month period in 50 years between November 2019 and February 2020.
Hawke's Bay Regional Councillor Will Foley said he was seeing "extreme water shortages in places that are usually summer safe under the Ruahine Ranges".
"But the pain is being felt across much of the district."
The drought and extremely dry conditions throughout Hawke's Bay are affecting farmers as concern for stock feed and water grows.
Meat works have also slowed processing due to restrictions in China, putting further pressure on farmers.
"There's less options for people in terms of stock feed and getting stock off," Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay President Jim Galloway said.
"Seeing stock suffering is the worst thing from a farmer's point of view."
Galloway said Hawke's Bay Regional Council were forming a drought committee with MPI, farmers and other industries which would be meeting on Tuesday morning.
"It's getting close to wanting to do something and that's what we will be discussing tomorrow," he said.
New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI), is a climate data-based indicator of drought based on commonly-used indicators: rain, soil moisture and evaporation.
Drought classifications are declared by government, not Niwa, and mean that money from the Rural Support Trust can be used.
Agricultural Minister Damien O'Connor on Friday classified drought conditions in Tararua as well as neighbouring districts Gisborne, Manawatu and Rangitikei as a "medium-scale adverse event".
Criteria for classifying the scale of an adverse event are the options available to the community to prepare and recover from the event, the magnitude of the event and the capacity of the community to cope economically and social impact.
"We've seen a few drops of liquid gold fall over the last few days, which is fantastic, but we need more," Walker said.
While areas of Hawke's Bay are set to see some showers throughout the week, there is a soil moisture deficit of 30-50mm, so showers are not enough rainfall.
Anyone struggling to deal with water restrictions, lack of stock water, lack of stock feed or other associated pressures from the dry to reach out to their neighbours, a friend, a farm professional such as their vet, or the Rural Support Trust, Foley and Walker urged.