Rain ends Far North Level 4 water restrictions

Published on 04 June 2020

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Remaining Level 4 water restrictions applied to Far North communities are being reduced to Level 3 following significant rainfall over the past week.

From Friday 5 June, tough Level 4 restrictions allowing for essential water use only in Kaikohe, Kawakawa and Rawene will be reduced to Level 3. This means businesses and households 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 from Council supplies is also banned without an exemption.  

Level 3 restrictions applied to Opononi and Omapere will also be reduced to Level 2 from Friday, allowing the use of 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.

Far North Mayor John Carter says recent rain has recharged all rivers and streams used to supply raw water to Far North communities. “Even waterways most seriously impacted by the drought, such as the Wairoro Stream in Kaikohe, are now flowing above minimum levels set by Northland Regional Council.”

However, due to the severity and duration of the drought, the Mayor says water restrictions will continue in some form across the District until there is greater certainty that water supplies are secure. “More rain is forecast, but I’m asking all residents to continue conserving water wherever they can.”

He says the drought highlighted the natural limits of existing water supplies, especially in Kaikohe and Kaitaia. “The Council has provided supplementary supplies for these communities. In both cases, this was achieved by working closely with Maori landowners and I am very grateful for help they provided.

“I also want to thank the people of the Far North. All communities, whether connected to Council water supplies or not, reduced their consumption. This made a real difference and we avoided the need to use emergency water supplies set up in Kaitaia, Kaikohe and Rawene.”

He says the Council is now focused on providing permanent alternative supplies for Kaitaia and Kaikohe and is working with the government on these projects. Meanwhile, a groundwater bore at the Smoothy Road in the Hokianga is now operating as a permanent supplementary supply for Opononi and Omapere communities.

Mayor Carter says that with the worst of the drought now over in the Far North, the Council is providing more water restriction exemptions to businesses operating under Level 3 restrictions. “Building maintenance and other commercial operations have been on hold during the drought and then during COVID-19 restrictions. We will do all we can to help businesses get back on their feet and I urge them to contact us about water restriction exemptions if required.”

More details about water restriction exemptions and applications can found on the Save water page of the FNDC website. 

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