Low rainfall means Level 3 water restrictions for Kaitaia

Published on 08 January 2021

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Sustained dry weather over Christmas and New Year has seen flows in Kaitaia’s main water supply, the Awanui River, drop to worrying levels, prompting the Council to apply Level 3 water restrictions to the town.

From today, Kaitaia households and businesses connected to the Council water supply can only use a bucket or watering can to water gardens, and wash cars and buildings. The use of garden hoses, sprinklers or any irrigation device connected to the mains supply is banned, along with water blasting and the filling of swimming pools. Some commercial water use is also banned, such car washes on mains supply that do not have water recycling facilities.

Mayor John Carter says the decision to move to Level 3 was not taken lightly. However, with only moderate rain forecast for Kaitaia in coming days, the Awanui River will likely fall below minimum consent levels set by Northland Regional Council within a week.

“Kaitaia is still recovering from the 2019/20 drought and has not received similar levels of rain experienced in other parts of the district. This has seen flows in the Awanui River fall steadily, closely tracking levels seen at the same time last year.”

Level 2 water restrictions were applied to Kaitaia on 23 December, along with the Council’s Kawakawa-Moerewa supply. While flows in the Awanui River and Kawakawa’s Tirohanga Stream increased slightly following rain last week, low soil moisture levels in both catchments mean the recovery was short-lived.

Mayor Carter says plans to complete a second supply for Kaitaia should see the end of regular summer water restrictions.  “Work on a new bore at Sweetwater near Kaitaia is progressing steadily and is due to be operational before next summer. This will permanently supplement supplies from the Awanui River, making Kaitaia’s water supply far more resilient to prolonged dry weather.”

Meanwhile, testing of a second bore drilled at Kaikohe’s Monument Hill is due to begin this month. It is projected the 120-metre-deep bore will access more sustainable groundwater supplies and could provide up to 45 per cent of the town’s summer water needs. Both Kaikohe and Kaitaia were particularly hard-hit during last year’s drought with both towns almost running out of water.

For more information on water restrictions in your area and tips on saving water, go to the Be Waterwise Whakanuia tō Whakaaro ki te Wai website at bewaterwise.org.nz/. To tell the Council about water leaks or breaches to water restrictions, phone 0800 920 029. 

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