The Far North District Council has the agreements and the infrastructure in place to begin taking water from Lake Ōmāpere, but one hurdle remains to be cleared.
The Northland DHB has concerns regarding the lake's susceptibility to algal blooms, and has required the council to add further barriers to its treatment process against cyanobacteria toxins. Specialists have been engaged to reconfigure the treatment process and are finalising a design.
"We are making good progress on this, but can't say at this stage when this work will be completed," a council spokesman said.
The council, working with the Lake Ōmāpere Trust, plans to take up to 1500 cubic metres of water a day from the lake for 100 days, supplementing the Wairoro Stream, which provides most of Kaikohe's water but is flowing at critically low levels. The Ōmāpere Taraire E Rangihamama X3A Ahuwhenua Trust has also given permission to pipe the water 2.8km over its land to the water treatment plant via a fire service-style hose on loan from Refining NZ's Marsden Point facility.
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The council has deployed generators, and a submersible water pump was put in place by helicopter on Friday.
Mayor John Carter said he was grateful to all parties involved in delivering the solution for Kaikohe, but he asked residents to continue conserving water until the lake was approved as a temporary source.
"Kaikohe has shown how resourceful it is by reducing its water consumption by an impressive 38 per cent. I'm asking everyone to continue those savings for now," he said.
Rain last week made significant improvements in the water sources for Kawakawa/Moerewa and Kerikeri/Waipapa. It also lifted the Wairoro Stream from 0.8 to 6 litres per second, still less than half the minimum for the council to take water.
The Monument Hill bore was last week drawing water from a depth of 58.4m, very close to the permissible limit of 59m.
In Kaitaia, where the Awanui River's consented minimum flow is 460 litres per minute, the flow rose from 207 litres to 216. Waitangi received 25mm of rain over 48 hours last week, Kerikeri 47mm, Kaikohe 5mm and Kaitaia 0.6mm.