Drought expands water restrictions to towns

By Peter de Graaf

Ongoing dry weather has forced the Far North District Council to bring in water restrictions in the South Hokianga towns of Omapere and Opononi.

Fire bans also remain in force across Northland, with the Northern Rural Fire Authority vowing to bill anyone who lights a fire and causes a fire brigade callout.

In the Far North a total fire ban is in place with gas barbecues and, in special cases, hangi fires the only exceptions. In the Whangarei and Kaipara districts a restricted fire season is in force, which means fires are allowed only with a permit.

The Omapere/Opononi water restrictions came into force yesterday and will last until further notice, banning the use of hosepipes (except with a hand-held trigger attachment), garden sprinklers or irrigation systems (unless for commercial purposes) and commercial car washes (unless it recycles water).

Filling swimming pools is also banned under the "level one" water restrictions, and high users have to bring in conservation measures in order to cut use by 10 per cent.

Council infrastructure and assets general manager David Penny said the Far North had been without significant rain since Christmas and a dry autumn was on the cards.

No other water restrictions are in force in Northland as yet.Check out www.fndc.govt.nz for a list of water saving tips.

- Northern Advocate

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