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Remaining Far North water restrictions lifted

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Significant recent rainfall has allowed Far North District Council to lift water restrictions applied to Kaitaia and parts of Hokianga.

Level 3 water restrictions had remained in place for the Council’s Opononi-Omapere and Kaitaia water supplies, despite restrictions being lifted elsewhere in the district last month. The restrictions meant households and businesses connected to Council supplies were not permitted to use outdoor hoses, and could only water gardens and wash cars or boats from a bucket.

The restrictions were in place longer than normal due to an unusually dry autumn, especially on the West Coast of the district. This had resulted in low water flows recorded in streams and rivers supplying the two water schemes.

Last month, the Council discovered that the Awanui River, Kaitaia’s main raw water source, was more seriously impacted than thought when it learned that two gauges measuring river flows had been providing incorrect readings.

A manual measure revealed that river flows were actually 100 litres per second less than the minimum required by the Northland Regional Council resource consent. The limit is designed to protect the Awanui River’s ecosystem, which can be harmed if water flows are too low.

The Council immediately reduced the amount it was taking from the Awanui River and supplemented raw water supplies from the Kauri Dam, its back-up water source for the town.

Recalibrated flow gauges on the Awanui River show the river is now flowing above the minimum levels specified in the NRC resource consent.

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