Water shortage leaves Northlanders parched

By Talisa Kupenga

In the Northland region, some Okaihau and Rawene locals are coping with a water shortage by taking thousands of litres from council-owned hydrants to battle the dry spell. And while relief came from some rain at the weekend another dry week is expected.

Northland's dry season is pushing some people to extreme measures to access water, and some farmers are already feeling the pinch.

Local Farmer Ken Rintoul told Te Kāea, “We've got drains that usually won't dry up until late February even into March and they've already dried up now so in another month or so we could be in a few dire straits."

The Far North Council says last week, a combined 90,000 litres of water was taken from its hydrants in Rawene and Okaihau. The council already banned sprinklers and irrigation devices in an effort to conserve water earlier this month.

"People are getting desperate and there's delays in getting water delivered so people will do what they have to do to survive."

It's been dry since November and Rintoul says under current conditions, his farm could last another three weeks. In some Northland towns, there's up to a six-week waiting list for water tanks.

Local Resident Clint Clayton says, “"Yeah I've had one tank run out already I was just down the creek the other day with the kids and I noticed the water level is right down at the moment compared to last year. So it's only going to get worse."

With another dry week expected and tougher water restrictions likely, locals can only hope rain comes sooner rather than later.