Despite patchy rain, and the tail end effects of Cyclone Gretel, rainfall has not improved the water supply crisis in the Kaipara

Cyclone brings little relief

by Andy Bryenton

It’s not often that we look to a tropical cyclone with optimistic hope, but the tail end of Cyclone Gretel, which lashed French Polynesia last week, was slated to bring some rain relief to parched Kaipara paddocks.

Ruawai local Kura Newall, who has tracked rainfall in the town since 1975, sent information to this publication proving that the preceding months have been the driest on record. That is borne out by two other important factors, which the Kaipara District Council use to determine the water restriction level in place.

KDC has kept the water restriction level for all towns across the Kaipara at four (signifying necessary use only), as significant and continued rainfall is needed to truly boost these levels, return streams and rivers to a healthy flow rate, and ensure ample supply for weeks to come.

Northland Regional Council’s water and waste manager Ali McHugh says it’s great there’s been some rain, but it’s been little more than a drop in the bucket when it comes to our river, stream, aquifer and dam levels.

“The fact is, it’s still parched out there in most of Taitokerau, and the effects of this drought may continue well into next year if we continue to get below-average rainfall. We’re going to have to keep thinking about water conservation through winter to lessen the impact on the region as we head into next summer,” she says.