Urgent plea to conserve water in Paihia

Published on 31 December 2020

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Far North District Council is urging residents, businesses and visitors to Paihia to immediately reduce water consumption as it struggles to keep up with unprecedented demand.

The Paihia water treatment plant, which supplies Waitangi, Paihia and Opua, is now running 24 hours a day and is producing a record amount of treated water. Even so, storage reservoirs that normally refill overnight are now failing to reach capacity with one reservoir reaching just 62 per cent full last night. The Paihia water treatment plant normally produces a maximum of 3200 cubic metres of water a day. Staff have managed to push this to 3375 cubic metres a day, but there is no extra capacity left in the system.

Mayor John Carter says that since Christmas Day, demand for water at holiday hotspots in the Bay of Islands has broken records. “There has been a huge influx of visitors to the area, and the Council wants to do all it can to support our tourism industry. However, we simply cannot produce enough water to meet current demand, so I am pleading with everyone to immediately reduce water consumption over the holiday period so we can avoid the need for water restrictions.

“Please remind visitors to the Far North to flush less, shower shorter, turn taps off and only wash full loads of laundry. I also ask the many boaties visiting to consider not washing down their craft until they return home.”

He says the Council is doing all it can to reduce demand on the struggling Paihia supply. “We have redirected bulk water carriers to our Kawakawa-Moerewa and Kaikohe supplies to help us through. These operators account for up to 5 per cent of current demand and are struggling to keep up with orders to refill rainwater tanks. I know most operators are only delivering to those desperately short of water and I want to thank them for working responsibly. This is a reminder that everyone needs to conserve water, not only those connected to town supplies.”

He also asks that all residents and visitors immediately report water leaks by phoning the Council on 0800 920 029. “Water pipes break more frequently when we have very dry ground conditions as we do now. Contractors have already repaired two significant water leaks in the Waitangi area, but we need your help to identify leaks quickly so we can prevent further water loses.”

He says the fire at Ahipara on Tuesday night was a very clear reminder to the whole district of how dry conditions now are. “That fire sent us all a clear message: until we get significant levels of rain, we need to conserve water and obey fire restrictions so we can all enjoy a well-deserved holiday break.”

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