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New Cross-Council Drought Management Plan Released

Kaipara District Council (KDC) has worked with other Northland Councils on a Drought Management Plan (DMP) to create a consistent drought classification system and approach.

The DMP aligns the use of water use restriction levels to those used within the Whangarei and Far North District Councils, providing a uniform approach to drought event management across the region.

At its 27 October meeting, Council voted to adopt the DMP, which includes:

  • alignment of water use restriction with Whangarei District Council (WDC) and Far North District Council (FNDC)
  • the creation of DMPs for the networked water supply areas of Glinks Gully, Ruawai and Mangawhai
  • an update to the Dargaville and Maungaturoto DMPs
  • amalgamation of the DMPs into one KDC DMP
  • changes to some allowable activities at various water use restriction alert levels.

KDC Operations Manager Donnick Mugutso says the new DMP will provide a set of actions for maintaining an appropriate level of service to the community during a drought event. “The availability of the raw water supply is subject to many factors including long-term rain forecasts, water table levels and extraction by other users, which may cause the responses given in this guide to be accelerated or slowed down on the advice of senior Council staff.”

KDC has five water supply areas in Dargaville, Maungaturoto, Ruawai, Mangawhai and Glinks Gully - each with its own unique arrangement of raw water sources. The supply of raw water for Dargaville, Maungaturoto and Glinks Gully is predominantly spring fed streams, which generally have limited raw water availability during the summer period. The supply of raw water for Ruawai and Mangawhai is sourced from bores (aquifers) and has different challenges around water quality, risk of saline intrusion and sustainable extraction rates.

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Mr Mugutso says this DMP replaces two existing DMPs for Dargaville and Maungaturoto, incorporating the water supply areas of Ruawai, Mangawhai and Glinks Gully to create a singular DMP for drought management across the district. “In short, it aligns the use of water use restriction levels to those used within the Whangarei and Far North District Councils, providing a uniform approach to drought event management across the region.”

Following the 2019/2020 drought, the NRC developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in collaboration with KDC, FNDC and WDC. The MOU aims to ensure each district council’s public water supply is managed during periods of low rainfall to keep water supply running and/or minimise any adverse environmental effects. The MOU was signed by all four councils on 9 August 2021.

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