Rural firefighters are running out of water with the Tikokino Fire Station needing a new pump for the first time in 15 years to reach deeper water from its bore.

Tikokino firefighter Tony Spargo said it was hoped the new pump would be operating soon, so that the two Tikokino tankers that carried 25,000 litres of water each could be refilled after callouts.

In the meantime, the Otane Fire Service tanker has been bringing water in to fill large water tanks behind the fire station, and fire service staff had been around the township finding out where people had swimming pools in order to supplement the firefighting water if necessary.

"It's low everywhere - when we go out on a call there's very little water around, most of the streams have dried up and the rivers are down," Mr Spargo said.


Over the last week the brigade was called out to three scrub fires - one on Gwavas Rd and two others on the same property outside of Ongaonga - one started by a spark from a motorbike, the others from sparks caused a harvester hitting stones.

At the same time, fires were breaking out in rural areas outside of Havelock North, such as one on Waimarama Rd last Friday, putting pressure on firefighting resources.

A resident of Tikokino himself for the last 16 years, he said there were a lot of people struggling with water shortages this summer.

"I have seen the Otane and Havelock North water tankers here at least two to three times a week - wells are going dry, but it's happening earlier. In the past it might have happened in March or April and this year they went dry in December."

Another Tikokino resident has kept daily rainfall records for the village for many years, which showed the amount of rain had decreased in the last 10 years from on average 1200mm a year to 800mm a year, he said.

It was no comfort to be told that the situation would come right again in winter.

"The issue is happening now, people need the water now."

For some years now the CHB District Council has subsidised the cost of tankered water, last year reducing the price to $3.50 per cubic metre to make it more affordable.

Mayor Alex Walker said she was aware of the difficulties people were having.

"The current situation in CHB needs to be improved - things are changing not only for people in places like Tikokino and Ongaonga having difficulties accessing water, but also people in rural areas.

"Part of my job is to support those people in the wider conversation about water, and stand alongside them and lobby for them where necessary."