Northland towns struggle to meet council targets in reducing water usage

There’s a call on Northland towns to try harder to conserve water, with only a few managing to make significant water savings.

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This comes after calls for Northland towns to try harder to conserve water. Source: 1 NEWS

Kaikohe’s town supply is most at risk of drying up and the community has rallied together reducing water consumption by more than a third.

Pools remaining closed on a hot day is one of the many sacrifices Kaikohe West School is making to conserve water.

With the town’s supply almost depleted, the school has offered the pool water up to the local fire brigade to use.

While Northland College is investigating leaving the town supply and sourcing water from a bore which they have on site.

Even Ngawha Prison, which uses around 16 per cent of Kaikohe’s water is now sourcing it from elsewhere.

Families are also trying to do their bit to help and conserve their very limited supply.

“Our showers are like five-minute showers, they’re like quick as, sometimes I even have cold showers because the water doesn’t heat up in time," says Kaikohe resident Lawrence Whanau.

"We’ve been showering with a bucket in the shower too and using the excess water for other stuff.” 

Water saving efforts have seen the towns usage reduced by nearly 35 per cent but in the Far North, it’s an exception.

Many areas are not meeting the council’s 25 per cent water saving target with Paihia and Opua reducing consumption by less than one per cent.

Shaun Clarke, Far North District Council Chief Executive, says each town has a different ability to conserve water as some are more business based than residential.

“Certainly, in the case of Paihia, they’re negligible increase in water use is because we’re getting 67 cruise ship in there a year. So, short of actually cutting off the life blood of the economy, we’re all restricted by what we can do.”

The council’s encouraging people to dob in on water wasters who face a fine of up to $20,000.

So far, there’s been more than 50 reports of alleged water restriction breaches, but the council is yet to prosecute.

“If we’ve got people that won’t listen, who are second or third offenders we’ll certainly take them through the formal process,” says Mr Clarke.

The council is talking though while preparing for the worst, residents will be given up to three days’ notice if the town supply dries up and emergency tanks have been installed.