Water restrictions are possible in Whangārei within the next three months as dam levels are expected to plummet quickly with little to no rain predicted over that period.
In the last 12 months, the Whangārei District Council has relied on the Hatea River to ensure continuous water supply but the level there has plummeted to the point where WDC is no longer using it and has switched to the Whau Valley dam.
WDC water services manager Andrew Venmore said while restrictions have not been announced in the district as yet, there was no room for complacency.
"Even though the dam is over 80 per cent full, we are anticipating at least another three very dry months, during the hottest time of year when people, plants and animals are at their thirstiest.
"The dam level will fall quickly over those months so we all need to be very responsible and make sure we are not wasting water."
Venmore said people who have never run out of water from their streams, bores and rainwater tanks were having to buy water.
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If the Far North and Kaipara ran out of water, he said people in those districts would seek tanker water from Whangārei that would put more pressure on WDC-run dams.
Different levels of water restrictions are now in place in places around Kaipara and the Far North, including Kaitaia where residents are being asked to cut water use by 25 per cent.
Venmore said all territorial authorities in Northland were running a joint advertising campaign to remind residents and visitors to use water consciously.
"The long weekends in summer often bring huge numbers of holiday makers to our district. They may come from places that don't have water issues, so it is up to us as residents to show and tell them how to behave regarding water here."
Venmore said decades of planning ahead meant Whangārei was in a better situation this summer than some areas in terms of water preservation and use.
"We are continuing to work in advance of potential future water shortages by building a new water treatment plant at Whau Valley this year, and we have plans on the books to establish a pipeline to the Wairua river in 2026."