Water restrictions relaxed for Omanaia-Rawene

Published on 26 June 2020

Rawene ferry aerial April 2019-28.jpg

Level 3 water restrictions for Omanaia and Rawene are being reduced to Level 2 after flows in the stream that supplies the two communities exceeded minimum consented flows for more than 10 days.

The Petaka Stream is one of the District’s most vulnerable water supplies and was hit hard by the summer drought, raising fears that taps in Rawene and Omanaia could run dry. However, recent rainfall and increased soil moisture levels have seen a sustained recovery of the stream and the Council is confident that relaxing restrictions will not negatively impact the waterway.

Mayor John Carter thanks the Rawene and Omanaia communities for their efforts to reduce water consumption during the drought. “We asked all residents in the Far North to reduce consumption by 25 per cent. I want to thank the people of Rawene and Omanaia for consistently exceeding that target and helping us avoid the need to resort to emergency supplies.”

Level 2 water restrictions are now in place for all Far North District Council supplies. This allows households and businesses 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 remains in place for both commercial and residential users.

Mayor Carter says the resilience of the Omanaia-Rawene water supply has now been improved with the completion of a new $2.8 million treatment plant in September. The drought prevented the facility from being commissioned at the time due to the large volume of water required to flush the new network. With flows in the Petaka Stream now above consented levels, the commissioning process can be completed.

Mayor Carter says that despite recent rain, Level 2 water restrictions across the District will not be reduced any further for now. This follows a recent seasonal forecast from MetService predicting an extended and significant spell of drier weather for Northland. MetService is warning that up to 30 per cent less rain is possible during August and September, increasing the chances of water shortages next summer.

Mayor Carter says the Council is now focused on developing new permanent water supplies for Kaitaia and Kaikohe, the communities hardest-hit by the recent drought. 

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