Kaitaia and Paihia water restrictions reduced

Published on 22 May 2020

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Water restrictions for both Kaitaia and Paihia are being relaxed, although conservation measures applied to other Council water supplies will remain for now.

The reductions will see tough Level 4 restrictions in place for Kaitaia since February immediately reduced to Level 3. This means households and businesses can now water gardens, and wash cars, buildings and paved areas from a bucket. Commercial car cleaners can also operate high-pressure and recycled water systems. A ban remains on the use of all outdoor hoses and irrigation systems. Filling swimming pools also remains completely banned.   

In Paihia, Opua and Waitangi Level 3 restrictions are being reduced to Level 2. This allows households and businesses connected to Council supplies to use handheld hoses to water gardens, and wash cars, buildings and paved areas. Swimming pools can also be filled from the mains supply, although a ban on automatic irrigation and sprinkler systems remains in place.

Far North Mayor John Carter says reduced restrictions for these two communities does not mean the Northland drought has broken. “We remain in a drought and that will not change until we receive significant rainfall.”

According to Northland Regional Council some Northland communities have seen 47 per cent less rainfall than normal and that much of the Far North will need up to 1000mm of rain to break the drought.

Mayor Carter says unique circumstances in both Kaitaia and Paihia mean the burden of water restrictions can now be reduced for those communities. “Kaitaia residents will be especially relieved that Level 4 water restrictions can be relaxed. This is possible due to increased and consistent water flows in the Awanui River. Our supplementary ground water source at Bonnett Road is also operating well, and we are confident Kaitaia’s supply can be maintained uninterrupted.”

He says recent rainfall has reduced demand in Paihia, especially from bulk water carriers, taking pressure off the water treatment plant. “Reduced water restrictions will be good news for the Bay of Islands tourism industry. With COVID-19 restrictions on domestic travel now removed, businesses will be looking to provide as many services as possible for visitors.”

He hopes restrictions for the district’s other water supplies can be lowered soon, but warns it is likely the drought will have an impact on Northland well into next summer. “We have successfully tapped into supplementary water sources for Kaitaia and Kaikohe – our most seriously affected towns – and we are improving supplies in the Hokianga. However, this drought has highlighted the natural limits of our waterways and the need for water conservation to be practiced year-round in the Far North.” 

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