Whangārei may soon be supplying drinking water to Kaipara and the Far North as Northland's big dry tightens its grip.
Whangārei District Council chief executive Rob Forlong told councillors at their meeting on Wednesday the situation was dire in Kaipara and the Far North.
He said the council might soon need to help out others around the region facing worsening situations and was slashing water use in its parks and reserves to preserve the vital resource.
"There will some issues [in those areas] in the very near future," Forlong said.
Whangārei's Whau Valley Dam is about 70 per cent full and Wilson's Dam at Ruakākā is more than 70 per cent full - both healthy situations for the time of year.
Kaipara District Council has declared level four water restrictions, meaning water can be used only for essential drinking, cooking and hygiene and all outdoor water use is banned in the Dargaville area.
Water restrictions are in place around the Far North. Tough level-four water restrictions are also in place for Kaikohe. Northland Civil Defence and Emergency Management has helped Far North District Council install three large water tanks at the RSA to supply residents and businesses if the town's supply runs out. Kaitaia is also on a level four water restriction.
As well, the region could be just days away from being declared a drought zone if no serious rain arrives.
Forlong said Whangārei was in a reasonable position with its water supply and would look to support its Northland neighbours.
"I am aware of getting a significant increase in the number of tanker loads of water coming out of our supplies for outside the district. It's our role to support our friends and neighbours into Kaipara and the Far North."
WDC councillor Simon Reid, whose Maungatapere-based trucking business includes water deliveries, said there was big demand for the service within Whangārei and outside the district.
"In the last three weeks we've had lots of calls from Mangawhai, Dargaville, Arapohue, Kaikohe and Kawakawa."
Water tank deliveries could now take up to 10 days after ordering.
His business had stopped filling swimming pools at 1000 litres a time.
Water carriers from outside the district are coming to Whangārei to fill up with what is now liquid gold.
Reid said people were now putting 1000-litre tanks on their utes and bringing them into town to fill up at work.
They were also filling the 1000-litre tanks using the drinking water supply available for campervans in Kioreroa Rd. This was not acceptable.
Whangārei District Council has adopted a new hardline approach to watering in its parks and reserves.
"Our parks and gardens will be put on starvation rations," Forlong said.
Sports fields would probably still need to be irrigated to be usable into winter, but there would come a point when their irrigation would have to stop, too.
Forlong said the community in Whangārei and around Northland was doing its bit to conserve water. It was important Whangārei District Council did so, too.
He said the community might notice brown grassy areas and dead hanging plant baskets as a consequence of significantly cutting back on WDC watering in its parks and reserves.