Desperate Mangawhai and Kaiwaka residents are running out of water and may have to wait until the end of January to replenish their tanks after the taps were turned off at their closest filling stations for almost 24 hours.

And now residents on the Hibiscus Coast are also facing delays to get their tanks filled after the Stanmore Bay water tanker filling station was closed yesterday afternoon.

Water cartage firms relying on WaterCare's Wellsford and Snells Beach filling stations to supply customers in Mangawhai and Kaiwaka who all rely on tank water were prevented from getting water from 11am on Saturday until 8am yesterday and were unable to supply desperate customers.

The Stanmore Bay filling station was also closed yesterday due to high demand and Absolutely Whanga Water owner Ian Sinclair said there was up to a 45 minute wait for water at the Silverdale plant which the tankers were being directed to.


His firm had also been driving up to Leigh and Omaha as residents were so desperate they were paying the extra cost rather than waiting until the end of the month for local carriers to deliver.

WaterCare said the high demand for water in the area meant priority had to be given to people connected to its network.

"Our first priority is to make sure the homes and businesses connected to our network continue to enjoy unrestricted access to water and there was very high demand yesterday," a WaterCare spokeswoman said. She said there was nothing wrong with the water quality.

Mangawhai resident Megan Pitt said a drier summer had put pressure on their water supplies and, along with the influx in holidaymakers and new residential development, there was an even higher demand for water deliveries this year.

Pitt has been waiting 12 days for a delivery.

Other residents, some who have already run out of water, have already been waiting three to four days for a delivery and now would have to wait even longer. Delays are up to 16 days and some waiting lists for refills have closed.

The Colhoun family have had no water since Thursday and with a newborn in the house Brett Colhoun said going without was not an option.

Brett, his wife Ronael and eight-week old son Harrison moved out of their house and to his parent's bach in Mangawhai Heads for the first three days. Then on Sunday he hired a pump with a trailer and tank at a cost of $105 and transferred 3000 litres from their property to his own in three loads.


"It's horrible - you can't do anything. You don't realise how much you use it actually. Washing your hands after changing nappies, trying to clean the kid's clothes, drinking water obviously - you have to drink everyday and you don't want to have to go down and buy it all. Everything - it's amazing."

Residents have expressed their frustrations on the local Mangawhai Facebook page. Nat Mary posted that she was considering taking her kids to a motel while they waited for water to arrive.

Wellsford water cartage firm Trac n Trix owner Caleb Gamble said suppliers had been given no warning about the taps being turned off, and he first learnt of it was when he returned for water at lunchtime on Saturday.

He said the company should at least have been able to warn suppliers, especially when they paid about $2500 a year for a key to access the station.

Wellsford customers were charged $200 for 10,000 litres of water, but the extra travelling costs to Silverdale would mean they would have to pay $600 for the same amount which no one would pay, he said.

"The water is not the expensive part, it's the cartage. I'm going through $200 a day running my truck. Then you have all the other expenses like road user charges and tyres and regos and everything. Then out of that I still have to make a profit to put food on the table for my family."

Army Bay resident Katrina Skipworth has lived on the Hibiscus Coast for 24 years and said this was the first time she had been told be filled her tank could not be filled the next day. "I called them all and no you can't have any water. Nobody can give us water tomorrow. They are saying they can't get it."

Skipworth said she would have to wait about three days for a delivery and was annoyed that there had been no warning.

"Noone said we've got an impending water crisis you have to careful. My husband wouldn't have washed his care last week if we knew we had a crisis on our hands."

Sandra Grayson runs dairy farm Raw Milk Mangawhai and a B&B which accommodates up to five guests had been told water would not be delivered to her property until January 31.

Grayson was outraged by the situation and said Kaipara Council should have an emergency supply available for residents - especially families and the elderly.

Grayson said if it remained dry she might be forced to cancel guests due to not being able to provide water to them as she only had half a tank left.

Kaipara District Council general manager of corporate services Peter Marshall said the council only reticulated to a small number of facilities - including the shopping centre and campground - in Mangawhai, so there was no ability to provide water to anyone else in the area, especially at this time of year.

Marshall said the closest water supply would be Maungaturoto which would need some work before it was available to tankers. Otherwise there was one in Ruakaka which was run by the Whangarei District Council.

"But that's as good as we can suggest in terms of in terms of their availability ... We don't rate for water supply in Mangawhai. Individuals go into those properties knowing the water supply is their responsibility and that's pretty clear with the LIMS we provide.

"We will definitely do everything we can to help the water carrier."