Water restrictions for Kerikeri reduced

Published on 28 May 2020

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Improved flows in the Puketotara Stream have prompted Far North District Council to reduce water restrictions for Kerikeri from Level 3 to Level 2.

The change 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 connected to Council supplies remains in place.

Far North Mayor John Carter says that while flows in Puketotara stream are much lower than normal for this time of year, they have now stabilised above minimum levels set by Northland Regional Council.

He says the decision to reduce restrictions was also prompted by much improved soil moisture levels in the Kerikeri area. This means rain will replenish rivers and streams rather than be absorbed straight into parched soils. However, soil-moisture deficits remain significant in other parts of the district.

“Improving conditions in Kerikeri and Waipapa do not change the fact that Northland remains in a drought. However, we are acutely aware that ongoing water restrictions are a significant burden for businesses and residents across the Far North. Staff closely monitor all of our water sources and will relax restrictions further as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Last week, water restrictions for Kaitaia were reduced from Level 4 to Level 3, and from Level 3 to Level 2 in Paihia. But the Mayor is warning against complacency, saying the drought will likely have an impact on Northland well into next summer. “This drought has highlighted the need for water conservation to be practiced year-round in the Far North.”

Northland Regional Council warned on 1 May the region was experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record. It said catchments were particularly low across Northland with recorded flows in rivers between 80 to 90 per cent below normal in March. It estimated at least 750mm of rain would be required by October to break the drought along the west coast of Northland, and up to 1000mm is required along the east coast and in the Far North.

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