Updated on 4 May 2020
There is still a drought in the Far North despite recent rain. Kaikohe’s main water source, Wairoro Stream, is still running below consented levels. However, flows have stabilised and the Council expects these to increase gradually as winter approaches.
Lake Omapere a back-up water supply
Kaikohe is no longer in danger of running out of drinking water following completion of infrastructure to treat raw water from Lake Omapere. The Northland District Health Board has approved extensive water treatment measures the Council and its alliance partner Far North Waters have developed to ensure water from the lake meets NZ Drinking Water Standards. The Council will only supply water from the lake to Kaikohe households and businesses if it is unable to take water from its usual sources. The Council is grateful to Lake Omapere Trust and Omapere Taraire E Rangihamama X3A Ahuwhenua Trust for making the lake available to the community as a temporary water supply.
Kaikohe community sustains water savings
Kaikohe households and businesses continue to achieve weekly water savings well in excess of the Council’s 25% water saving target. The town reduced its normal water use by more than 38% last week. The Council is urging people to keep saving water to avoid the need to supply water from the lake. A graph below shows recent water savings.
Questions & Answers
When will the Council start supplying treated water from Lake Omapere?
The lake is a back-up water source and we will only use it if we are unable to take water from our main water sources, Wairoro Stream and a bore on Monument Hill. We may not need to supply treated water from the lake if we receive enough rain.
How will the Council manage water quality risks with water from Lake Omapere?
The lake is susceptible to algal blooms, particularly in summer when temperatures are high. We have made extensive upgrades to our Taraire Hills Treatment Plant to ensure it will remove toxin-producing bacteria if an algal bloom occurs. We have done this by creating a large settlement reservoir that allows material that can harbour toxin-producing bacteria to be removed from the system. We have worked closely with the Northland District Health Board and water treatment consultants on this and recently received approval from the board to use the lake as a temporary water supply. We are also testing the water daily and monitoring the lake for algal blooms. If we have any concerns about water quality, we won’t take water from the lake.
Can the Council guarantee that water from the lake will be safe to drink?
No council in New Zealand can make that guarantee about any water supply, because all water supplies have water quality risks. Providing a public water supply is about managing and reducing these risks to a level the district health board is comfortable with. The Northland District Health Board has given us approval to use the lake as a temporary water supply. While it is safe to drink, we cannot remove the odour and taste of the water. We therefore plan to only use it as a back-up supply.
Will the lake solve Kaikohe's water shortage?
No. We only have agreements with Lake Omapere Trust and Omapere Taraire E Rangihamama X3A Ahuwhenua Trust to use the lake as a temporary water supply. We need the community to continue saving water and we commend households and businesses for exceeding our 25% water saving target. We are also investigating other water sources in the Kaikohe area. These include drilling a second bore at Monument Hill to tap into a deeper underground water supply and investigating the viability of developing community-scale water storage (dams) with the Government and Northland Regional Council.
When will the Council lift Level 4 water restrictions in Kaikohe?
We are reviewing water restrictions across the district every week and will consider relaxing these when streams are flowing above consented levels for a sustained period. Kaikohe residents have done a fantastic job of reducing their water consumption by more than 25 per cent. We ask you to continue these efforts for a little longer.