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Common sense call as dry conditions bite

10 Feb 2020, 3:25 PM

CDEM Northland logo.

Common sense, cool heads, and conserve water wherever you can.

Those are three of the key messages today from emergency services, Civil Defence and local authority representatives who met to chart a way through the various issues an increasingly parched Northland will collectively need to negotiate in the weeks to come.

Graeme MacDonald, spokesperson for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says by now most people will be aware of the water situation in Northland, including the towns and areas where water supplies are under most pressure.

He says with Northland’s extremely dry conditions worsening by the day – and with no immediate end in sight – the various players involved were working closely to tackle their common weather-related foe on behalf of the shared communities they served.

With that in mind, Fire and Emergency NZ, police, Civil Defence, health and local authorities wanted to remind the public of some associated key messages and reassure them of the ongoing weather-related planning emergency services and other major stakeholders are carrying out on their behalf.

Fire and Emergency spokesperson Graeme Quensell says the summer has already been a long, hard one for volunteers and career firefighters alike.

Northland’s firefighters were doing their part, including making what arrangements they could in advance to secure adequate water supplies to fight fires and the public could help by strictly observing the total fire bans in place for the region.

Police spokesperson Al Symonds says police are undertaking their own water conservation measures, including carrying out their day-to-day duties in an increasingly dirty and unwashed fleet as part of those water saving efforts.

Inspector Symonds urged people to work together and keep cool heads despite the hot weather and reassured the public police would be there working with and for them throughout the dry period.

Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald says with the latest weather forecasts continuing to indicate the dry conditions looked set to continue for some time, it was important for everyone to their part and conserve what water they could.

It was also important to bear in mind that even when rain did come, the extent of the dry conditions impacting on the region – and the length of time they had now been doing so – meant intensive rain would not signal an end to the current issues the North is facing.

Mr MacDonald says information about the current status of the region’s water situation – including current water restrictions for public water supplies operated by Northland’s three district councils and helpful tips to conserve water – is available from bewaterwise.org.nz 

Inspector Al Symonds, Northland Operations Manager NZ Police, left, Graeme MacDonald, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, centre, and Graeme Quensell, Assistant Area Commander for Whangarei-Kaipara, Fire and Emergency NZ.

Inspector Al Symonds, Northland Operations Manager NZ Police, left, Graeme MacDonald, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, centre, and Graeme Quensell, Assistant Area Commander for Whangarei-Kaipara, Fire and Emergency NZ.