Big trouble in little Kaitaia - water levels down 89%

By Mare Haimona-Riki

It has been a dry month in the Northland, with soil moisture levels well below the normal for Kaikohe, Kaitaia, and Kerikeri regions. Water restrictions are progressively being applied across the Far North while they wait for rain.

In the month of January alone, Kaitaia has received 10 mm of rain, resulting in a level 3 water restriction which prohibits the use of automatic or unattended garden hoses, sprinklers and irrigation devices.

Andy Finch, general manager for Far North District Council says that if Kaitaia does not reduce water use by 25%, level 4 restrictions will be placed on the town.

"The main issue around water levels in Kaitaia is the flow in the Awanui River. We have a resource consent instruction on how much water we can take out of there," he says.

January rainfall statistics

  • Kaitaia has received 10 mm of rain, which is only 11% of the monthly average
  • Kaikohe has received 29 mm of rain, which is 26% of the monthly average
  • Kerikeri has received 27 mm of rain, which is 24% of the monthly average

Kaitaia resident, Lina Rogers told Te Ao News that the communication from the council to the residents in the North have been less than adequate regarding the water restrictions and what they entail. 

"I didn't even hear about until someone else told me about, and then for them to say there's a water restriction, I had no idea what that meant apart from, don't use the water.

"But then are we supposed to do, don't do the washing, don't do this, don't do that and then don't live," she says.

Dargaville and Baileys Beach are currently under a level 4 water restriction, which requires the use of water to be limited only to drinking, cooking and washing. Finch says that this could extend to other nearby towns including Kaitaia if the weather continues to remain this dry. 

"We were expecting a little bit of rain in March that has been forecast but it's really gonna depend on the quantity that actually comes down in March, how much trouble we are really gonna be in."