Iwi to supply water to Northland towns in wake of ongoing drought

Rain brought a brief reprieve to Northland today, with light showers falling in the Far North. But it was not enough to break the drought which has brought towns like Kaikohe and Kaitaia to crisis point.

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It comes as precious rain has fallen in the North Island today. Source: 1 NEWS

Iwi are now on standby to bring water to the driest areas, starting at Sweetwater, a farm owned by Te Rarawa and Ngāi Takoto.

“The why is a no brainer because it's our people and we're here to serve our people and the community at large,” says June McCabe of Te Rarawa Asset Holding Company.

There's an extensive aquifer that runs from the Mangamuka ranges up towards Houhora, that water making its way further north to iwi land.

A deal is now on the table for iwi to supply water to Kaitaia, drawing nearly 3000 cubic metres and putting in the pipes a job that would normally take two-three months.

Mayor, John Carter says the community will be immensely grateful.

“I just want to say how grateful I am and I'm sure the community will be to Te rarawa and Ngai Takoto stepping up - I Just can't give them enough credit.”

Two million dollars has been allocated from the Provincial Growth Fund to set up the temporary water supplies, Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced this week.

“New Zealand citizens who happen to live in isolated areas ought not to endure Zimbawean like conditions,” he told 1 NEWS.

But Northland water woes are an ongoing problem.

The minister wants more collaboration between regional authorities as the mayor investigates more storage solutions. And iwi are keen for a say.

Restrictions remain in place as no major rain is forecast until March.