Drought

Recent heavy rain has eased water restrictions in Northland, but people are still being encouraged to save water at home and work. The rainfall has helped to top up storage dams, but levels are still lower than usual for this time of year.

Water restrictions

Restrictions were recently lifted however conservation is still strongly advised. Although there have been periods of rain, the district council-controlled water supplies in some areas are still under pressure. District councils in some areas are maintaining stringent water restrictions.

For water restrictions in your area visit: bewaterwise.org.nz

Rainfall maps

Rainfall across Northland during 2019 in some areas has been at record low levels. For Whangarei, December rainfall was 50% of normal and the 2019 annual rainfall was 63% of normal. This is the driest year in a non-continuous record stretching back to 1991. 

Find rainfall maps for Northland over the last few months on our rainfall maps at: www.nrc.govt.nz/rainfallmaps

River and rainfall data

Data from our automated river level and rainfall monitoring systems is published on our website approximately every two hours: www.nrc.govt.nz/riversandrain

Hydrology reports

The hydrology team have prepared reports for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group's situation reports. These are available at: www.nrc.govt.nz/hydroSitReps

How you can help

We need you to save any water you can! (Whether you have rainwater tanks or are on town water supply). All water saved now will help the region get through.

Water saving tips are available at: bewaterwise.org.nz

Northland’s drought response

Northland’s regional response to the worsening dry conditions is an absolute priority for the regional council which is supporting district councils in their efforts to manage the situation.

As part of our drought response, our hydrology team is stepping-up its monitoring to gauge flow rates in critical rivers and streams. This vital information is provided to district councils to help them make decisions about their public water supplies.

We analyse district councils’ daily water use to help us make our own important decisions, such as issuing ‘water shortage directions’. These allow district councils to legally keep taking the most urgently-needed water but impose extra requirements to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

We’re also taking part in a multi-council campaign to raise awareness of Northland’s exceptionally dry weather and the need for both locals and visitors to heed water restrictions.

In addition, the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is working with all four councils, emergency services, Northland DHB, the Rural Support Trust, welfare agencies, Government departments and other stakeholders to co-ordinate a region-wide response to the effects of the drought. 

Water shortage directions

Demand on the aquifers has reduced with recent rainfall, falling temperatures and a drop in the number of people visiting and staying in coastal communities. The east coast of Northland has received welcome rainfall events that have seen tanks being refilled and aquifers stabilising or recovering. As a result, the water shortage directions on all the eastern coastal communities has been lifted.