As we all know, it’s exceptionally dry here in Northland with rainfall at record low levels in parts of the region. District council-controlled water supplies are under extreme pressure and there’s no rain in sight.
Although there have been periods of rain, the situation in Northland has reached a point where district council-controlled water supplies in some areas are under considerable pressure. District councils in some areas are implementing increasingly stringent water restrictions.
For water restrictions in your area visit: bewaterwise.org.nz
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. In Kerikeri for December rainfall was 52% of normal, with the 2019 annual rainfall being 68% of normal.
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
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
No soap is a safe soap!
The region’s rivers and waterways are under pressure and the Northland Regional Council is concerned that people are starting to use Northland’s waterways and swimming holes as places to wash themselves with soaps, shampoo and shave cream, says Northland Regional Council Water and Waste Monitoring Manager Ali McHugh.
“We understand that people are trying to save water in their homes, but they’re swapping one problem for another by using products that contaminate the water.
“The detergents in the products they’re using can degrade water quality and the effects of contaminants on the river ecology is multiplied during low flows. No soap is a safe soap”.
If you are going for a swim – great! But leave your personal hygiene products at home.
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.