Most Far North water restrictions remain for now

Published on 19 February 2021

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A significant reduction in demand has prompted the Council to reduce Level 2 water restrictions at Paihia, Opua and Waitangi from today. However, restrictions applied to other water supplies will remain in place for now despite rainfall seen across the district this week.

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management (acting), Glenn Rainham, says Level 3 water restrictions for Kawakawa-Moerewa, Kaitaia and Kaikohe, and Level 2 restrictions for Kerikeri, will remain in force until there is certainty that waterways have recovered from recent dry weather.

“I know this will be frustrating for those communities after the rain received early in the week. However, we know that river and stream levels will likely drop again quickly without more rain. Unfortunately, forecasters tell us we are in for another two to three weeks of dry weather.”

Mr Rainham says that once flows in waterways that supply Far North communities have stabilised above minimum levels set by Northland Regional Council (NRC), water restrictions will be reduced or removed. “Until that happens, we must keep conserving water and protecting our waterways.”

He says that in the case of the Paihia-Opua-Waitangi water supply, peak holiday demand had pushed the water treatment plant to its limits. “The community doubles or more in size during the holiday period and our plant was operating 22 hours a day or more to meet that demand.”

He says that following Level 2 water restrictions being applied on 2 February and the end of the Waitangi Day long weekend, consumption had fallen by 26 per cent. “The treatment plant is now operating closer to 18 hours a day, so water restrictions on this supply are no longer necessary.”

Mr Rainham says the Council is working on a business case to build a new water treatment plant for Paihia-Opua-Waitangi. It will investigate securing land for the plant before moving the project into detailed design.

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