Dargaville and Baylys Beach are currently in Level 2 water restrictions (as of 18 December 2020).
All other water catchments across Kaipara District have returned to level 1, meaning there are currently no restrictions on use.
We have had some extreme weather events recently with a surge in rainfall. While water levels in our rivers are moving closer or have returned to their expected levels, many bores and aquifers take longer to recharge as the water must move through the ground.
We still need to be mindful of water use over the coming months, as the lack of overall rainfall may cause droughts again in this summer season.
More technical data can be found at the sites below.
For MPI Assistance
We experienced a long and extreme drought that extended beyond the 2019/2020 summer period.
Below we have answered some of the regular questions we get when we are in water restrictions, regarding drought and rainfall.
What about the Dam at Opanake?
The Dam of water at Opanake is part of our Resource Consent with the Northland Regional Council. To protect the health of the river, any water we take from Rotu (our main supply during drought conditions) has to be supplemented with water from the Opanake Dam. It’s not piped, but is instead released through existing creeks and tributaries until it meets the Kaihu River.
Historically there may have been plans for it to be a water source, however it currently exists solely as a condition of our resource consent to take water.
Can I put a water tank on my property?
Small, 1000L tanks can go on your property with no issues. Larger size tanks may be subject to rules in the District Plan or Building consent.
For existing houses, each situation is different, but the broad guidelines are a significant sized tank cannot be placed in the front yard, but may be placed in the side or back when it’s not over a council asset line. A small section may be constricted by tank size and the rules around impermeable surfaces (i.e. the amount of land you can have on your property that doesn’t allow water soakage).
Every situation would be different and best case would be owner supplies a basic proposal plan for Council to assess.
How much water is left? I heard there was only...
Water continues to flow down the Kaihu River, and our treatment plant is managing to supply the current demand for the community, and the more users can continue to conserve water the better we’ll be able to maintain. From the information we have from the Regional Council, the projection is that for the Dargaville supply, we will still be able to utilise the river flows until the end of April. The river flows are expected to be low, however, with permission from the Northland Regional Council, town supply will be prioritized even at lower flows after that. This is part of the preparation work we’re undertaking as forward planning as the ‘big dry’ period is set to continue. We’re constantly working with the Regional Council to manage our level within our consent, and look for water shortage directions (i.e. variations to the rules given the circumstances) to ensure we keep supplying water.
The water level flows are public information, and can be found at https://www.nrc.govt.nz/environment/river-and-rainfall-data/river-and-rainfall-data/ along with Rainfall data.
There are a few spots of rain coming across in the next 4 weeks, which may give little reprieve it won’t reverse the extended long period of drought.
What can I do? / How can I help save water?
Save any water you can! (Whether you have tanks or are on town water supply). All water saved now will help the region get through. Water saving tips are available at www.bewaterwise.org.nz