Northland landowners are being urged to get on board water storage projects which could boost the region's access to the precious recourse.

Northland Regional Council [NRC] is looking at options for water storage in Kaipara and the Mid North as part of the Northland water storage and use project.

It is hosting two public information sessions in Dargaville and Ōhaeawai this month where experts will discuss opportunities that exist within the horticulture sector.

Those in the primary sector are also encouraged to explore ways their land could be transformed with access to a reliable source of water.


The sessions will be held at Sportsville Dargaville on February 18 and at Ōhaeawai Rugby Club on February 19. Both events are from 10am to 2pm.

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Kerikeri Irrigation Company chairman Carl Muller said the information sessions could be a "transformational experience" for some landowners.

"Access to water is currently a major limiting factor for many Northland communities and we are seeing the effects of water shortages across the region right now," Muller said.

"Without access to a reliable source of water, your options for farming or growing are pretty limited really, but once people see what's possible when water is available, I think they'll be quite inspired."

The Government has promised $31.2 million to progress water storage projects in Northland in a bid to make the region more resilient in the face of extreme weather.

The project will see a series of small-scale reservoirs built in the Mid North and Kaipara districts that would collect and store water.

When needed, it would be delivered through a network of pipes for productive use.

One of Whangarei's two main water storage reservoirs, the Whau Valley Dam, nestled in the western hills of the district. Photo / Tania Whyte
One of Whangarei's two main water storage reservoirs, the Whau Valley Dam, nestled in the western hills of the district. Photo / Tania Whyte

Two initial studies have identified about 6300ha of land, some of which may be suitable for conversion to high-value horticulture, in Kaipara as part of a water supply scheme, along with 1600ha south of Kaikohe and 1700ha to the west of Lake Omapere.

Funding includes a $12.7m announcement from Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones on January 31, and last year's $18.5m Provincial Growth Fund announcement.

Oturei farmer Dennis Te Tuhi plans to attend the Dargaville open day to learn more about the scheme and what it could mean for the region.

Tuhi, who runs a 40ha sheep and beef farm south of Dargaville, said though the region had good soil for horticulture, "as we're finding out right now, we're vulnerable to mother nature if it doesn't rain".

"This water storage scheme would mean I could get better value out of my land and have confidence that any investment made to develop it would not be wasted because we could manage the drought risk."

The scheme would also be available to help existing municipal water supplies should district councils decide to invest.