Water restrictions lifted for some communities

Published on 14 May 2019

Water conservation hand on tap

Far North District Council will lift summer restrictions on four water supplies, but conservation measures will remain in place for Kaitaia and parts of the Hokianga. 

An unusually warm and dry autumn has seen water restrictions remain in force longer than normal for six of the Council’s nine water supplies. The restrictions include level 3 hose and sprinkler bans in place for Opononi-Omapere, Rawene-Omanaia, Kaikohe-Ngawha, and Kawakawa-Moerewa, while level 2 sprinkler bans have been in place for the Kaitaia, and Kerikeri-Waipapa supplies. 

General Manager (Acting) – Infrastructure & Asset Management Glenn Rainham says recent increased rainfall has resulted in restrictions being lifted everywhere from Wednesday 15 May, except for households and businesses connected to Council water supplies in Kaitaia and Opononi-Omapere.

“River and stream levels have increased for most of our raw water sources. At the same time demand for treated water has fallen, allowing treatment plants to reduce production. 

“However, the benefits of wetter weather have not been felt across the whole district with stream and river levels on the west coast remaining very low. That leaves us with no choice but to keep level 3 restrictions in place for Opononi-Omapere, and to increase restrictions to level 3 for Kaitaia.”

Level 3 restrictions ban the use of outdoor hoses. This means Kaitaia households and businesses connected to Council supplies can water gardens and wash cars or boats only from a bucket. Filling private swimming pools from Council supplies is banned completely. 

Mr Rainham says that while more rain is forecast, the west coast needs a good soaking of at least 150mm of rain spread over a week for waterways to fully recover.

“Until we see that level of rainfall, we must do all we can to minimise the amount of water we extract from vulnerable waterways and to preserve these precious ecosystems.”

He confirmed that a pipe feeding raw water to the Opononi-Omapere treatment plant had been successfully repaired after leaks were discovered in April. “Unfortunately, this has not improved flows in the Waiotemarama Stream, which is the ongoing problem we face with this supply.”

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