Falling water levels force restrictions

By Annette Lambly

Parts of Kaipara could soon be looking at a civil defence situation if falling river levels drop past the current intake pumping systems.

The council's operation manager John Burt said the Dargaville supply situation is serious and he urges people to conserve as much water as possible and to look out for any leaks that could cause wastage. A district-wide ban on the use of hoses and sprinklers is now in place.

If the situation continues, restrictions for Dargaville's largest consumer - Silver Fern Farms meatworks - may have to be imposed and working hours could be reduced.

Mr Burt said the meatworks had been working hard to reduce its water usage, but if the situation reached the point where water for household drinking and cooking was compromised, further restrictions would be introduced which would likely result in partial shut downs.

The district's water for a large part is sourced from streams which have seen their water levels drop significantly in recent weeks. Alternative water sources such as the Waiatua Dam have been brought on-line to provide water to meet the current demand, but with no rain in sight, water is becoming "an increasingly scarce commodity."

Tankers carrying water to rural households who rely on tank water are now being diverted to Ruawai to source water from the towns's two bores.

A new pump with increased 'yield' capacity has been installed at one of Ruawai's two bores and a failed control unit on the Rotu water take pump has been replaced. Mr Burt said Ruawai and Maungaturoto were under less threat than the rest of the district because of the bores and the Baldrock Rd reservoir which was holding up.

"A sizeable fall of rain would be required before the council would be able to remove restrictions," he said.

Anyone found breaching the restrictions could be liable for a fine of $500.

- Northern Advocate

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