Despite relatively high average annual rainfall overall in Northland, a lack of storage means much of this water can’t be harvested for use at other times. Having a secure source of water will provide local landowners with more diverse opportunities to develop their land, which in turn, will provide wider benefits to these communities and the Northland economy.
A series of studies looking at water storage options aimed at addressing water use - and the potential economic benefits to the region - has progressed in stages since 2014. These studies were mainly focussed on commercial supply for horticultural use but also show any potential schemes could have a part to play in bolstering existing municipal supply.
Council was responsible for undertaking the strategic, scoping and pre-feasibility phase analysis of scheme options. The results of these studies are detailed below. The areas identified for development are near Kaikohe in the mid-north and on the northern Pouto peninsular, south of Dargaville. The schemes will provide infrastructure to develop approximately 4,500ha of new horticulture, increasing Northland's area in horticultural production by around 50%.
Responsibility for the project now lies with the Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust. The Trust is undertaking further detailed investigations and design work for the schemes and seeking to obtain all resource consents required to proceed. The Trust is looking to bring the first of the reservoirs in the mid-north online as quickly as possible, with the potential that stages could be available as early as 2021/22. Full development of the schemes is likely to be over a longer period in response to demand.
Information on the Trust and details of the work being undertaken will soon be available at www.taitokerauwater.com