TODAY |

Battle to combat Northland drought ramps up with NZDF stepping in

The battle to combat drought in Northland has stepped up a notch with the New Zealand Defence Force drafted in to help deliver water around the region.

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Soldiers are delivering water across the region as taps run dry. Source: 1 NEWS

Four tankers from Palmerston North have delivered water to Far North communities.

The Awanui River that supplies Kaitaia is at its lowest level since records began 50 years ago.

People have been urged to reduce water usage by 25 per cent but many towns haven't met the target.

“If the NZDF had to be called in then a serious amount of manpower is needed and that this drought and the water shortage is definitely a serious issue,” second lieutenant Joshua Gaul-Crown told 1 NEWS.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development is providing special needs grants for those who need them.

The average cost to fill a water tank is $400, and since a drought was declared in the region $200 emergency grants have been given out.

Across the Far North, the council's conducted 49 compliance checks but there have been no formal warnings issued.

Access to the Aupōuri aquifer is still weeks away and with no substantial rain forecast in the next month the focus for the region is conservation.