Water suppliers in Mangawhai are calling on officials to grant an urgent temporary resource consent for a bore to reduce the pressure on residents struggling to fill their water tanks because of dry weather.
Only 17 properties in Mangawhai, a popular summer holiday destination as well as a rapidly growing community, are on Kaipara District Council water supply.
The majority of the remaining properties are on tank systems which are kept full either by rainfall or deliveries from local water suppliers.
But the long dry spell in Northland, combined with the closure of a local water bore and a stop on taking from the Wellsford supply, has put pressure on the water supply available to Mangawhai.
Some people are on waiting lists for water deliveries, with some epxpected to receive their next delivery on March 5.
Northland Regional Council said it was aware of the situation but no water resource applications for Mangawhai had been lodged with the council.
Kelvin Platt, of Mangawhai Water, said there were 54 people on his waiting list as of yesterday and urgent action was needed to solve the water issue before it became a serious health risk.
Platt said a local had spent thousands of dollars to develop a bore for domestic use and had been given the appropriate clearance from the Northland District Health Board that the water was fit for human consumption, but was struggling with the resource consent process through the Northland Regional Council.
"The Northland Regional Council could issue a temporary resource consent for a month and the immediate action would allow us to get on top of the backlog," Platt said.
"The bore meets health standards, it's just the paper work at the council that's holding it up."
His wife Karen said she had contacted the regional council yesterday urging a meeting between water carriers, community members and council staff.
"It's an issue that's not going away with such a growing population not just here in Mangawhai but the wider area. Councils need to look ahead."
Ben and Hannah Gardner, owners of Mangawhai water supplier The Water Boy, said they had been forced to source water from Ruakākā to supply customers. It was more expensive and not a long-term solution, they said.
"The council needs to sort this before next summer," Hannah Gardner said.
Colin Dall, NRC group manager regulatory services, said the council considered the allocation of the water resource.
"We will consider applications as quickly as we can. The applicant must supply the appropriate reports that asses the impact.
"We have to follow due process that comes down to being satisfied the effects of the water take are not going to adversely effect other lawful water takes."
He said a resource consent had been issued to a landowner in Mangawhai but due to an unresolved dispute between the owner and the water carrier the landowner had withdrawn the use of the bore. He was not aware of another applications from water carriers in the Mangawhai area.
Dall said there was a need to look at long term water solutions, and that could be a community supply. Dall welcomed any meeting with the community and water carriers that would address solutions.
"We support anything that avoids further periods where the demand exceeds the ability to supply."
Mangawhai resident Jill Palmer ran out of water last week and after using the neighbour's shower for a couple of days, she was forced to move to Auckland to stay with her son.
She hoped the water carriers would be able to deliver by Thursday.
Students at Mangawhai Beach School were also being advised to conserve water.
Principal Aaron Kemp said the school had been advised by its water carriers that a weekly delivery of two tanks may not be delivered. The school pool used most of the water delivery so it would be shut down first and if toilets were unable to be flushed the school would close.
Kemp said the 470 students had previously been urged to bring their own drinking water.
As the big dry hits, the Northland DHB's Public Health Unit yesterday urged residents to contact a Ministry of Health approved water carrier when household tank levels were running low.
It also advised all community organisations like schools, camp grounds and retirement villages on their own water supplies to carry out regular E.coli monitoring and ensure water treatment systems were maintained.
The public toilets at Paparoa had been closed by the Kaipara District Council due to a lack of water and instead portaloos had been placed nearby. It was hoped the toilets would be reopened again late this week.
Water restrictions have been imposed in Kaipara and the Far North districts.