Dairy heavyweight Fonterra is trucking, free of charge, hundreds of thousands of litres of emergency water supplies daily to the drought-stricken Far North.

The drought relief effort will see tankers carrying 90,000 litres of water a day each to Kaikohe and Kaitaia, and new water deliveries just started to Dargaville and Rawene, a spokesperson said.

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Sixty tankers a week have been delivering water to emergency holding tanks in Kaikohe and Kaitaia, while Dargaville will get 10 tankerloads or 300,000 litres every two days and Rawene one tankerful or 30,000 litres daily.


The water is sourced from Whangārei's water supply under an arrangement with the Northland Regional Council and the Far North and Whangārei district councils, the spokesperson said.

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Fonterra is also bringing up eight water pod trailers from its South Island operations to assist moving water around Northland.

The pods, about the size of a container, each carry 21,000 litres of water and can be loaded onto freight trucks or trains, the spokesperson said.

The pods are usually used to transport milk when Fonterra's tankers are at full capacity.

Fonterra has been able to work the water deliveries into its Northland milk collection schedules as tankers heading up into the region to pick up milk would normally be empty.

All hands to the pump in Fonterra emergency water deliveries to Northland.
All hands to the pump in Fonterra emergency water deliveries to Northland.

It is the biggest drought relief effort the company has been involved in, said the spokesperson. After the 2011 Christchurch earthquake Fonterra transported one million litres of water by milk train.

Whangārei is experiencing its second worst dry spell in nearly three decades, while the drought in the Far North is classified as severe.

Fonterra is a $20 billion revenue export cooperative owned by about 10,000 New Zealand dairy farmers.