Water restrictions needed for Kaitaia

Published on 15 January 2020

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Sustained dry weather over Christmas and New Year has seen flows in the Awanui River – Kaitaia’s main water supply – drop to worrying levels forcing the Council to impose Level 3 water restrictions.

Level 3 water restrictions will apply from Thursday 16 January to all households and businesses connected to the Kaitaia water supply. This makes it illegal to use garden hoses, sprinklers or any irrigation devices. Waterblasting and filling swimming pools from the mains supply are also banned.

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management, Andy Finch says the Level 3 restrictions are required to protect the ecology of the drought-sensitive Awanui River and help avoid the need for even tighter restrictions in the future.

“Water flow in the Awanui River has dropped steadily over the last few weeks. Apart from the possibility of some rain in March, little meaningful rain is forecast by MetService until May or possibly later in the year. This is a real concern.”

He says the Council is exploring options to supplement Kaitaia’s water supply from other sources, but in the meantime is asking everyone in the community to conserve water as much as possible.

Simple measures to reduce water consumption include:

  • Only wash clothes when you have a full load. A washing machine uses about 150 litres of water per wash
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
  • Put the plug in the sink when washing vegetables and don’t leave the tap running
  • Mulch your garden with grass clippings or compost. Mulching prevents up to 70 per cent of water loss through evaporation.

Mr Finch says the Council is monitoring all district water sources daily and is working with contractors to minimise water wastage and protect vulnerable water sources.

Help the Council protect water supplies – phone 0800 920 029 to report water leaks or breaches to water restrictions. Go to the Be Waterwise (Whakanuia tō whakaaro ki te wai) website for more tips on how to save water and information about current water restrictions across the Far North.

The Council may grant exemptions to water restrictions in exceptional circumstances. Applicants must demonstrate significant hardship and have no practical alternative water source. Go to the Council's Water supply web page for more details and to apply for an exemption.