We can’t do without it. This years drought has certainly reinforced that.
FNDC has received significant support from central government for temporary supplies, but the cost to ratepayers will still run into several millions of dollars. The drought has been a cost to many individuals and families at $300 per water tanker in Kerikeri District, and waits of four weeks have been reported.
Vision Kerikeri has submitted for about 15 years without effect that all new construction houses should have a water tank. This would assist Council in providing infrastructure, taking some demand off both water supplies and stormwater. Water reticulation is expensive and successive councils over the years have had difficulty providing an adequate water supply for dispersed communities with our small rating base.
Some projects have been on the works programme for many years. A water tank would not necessarily make a household independent of town supply but would supplement council’s infrastructure demands and its size. As displayed in the map (right) for April, rainfall over the region and sub-regions is very variable and even before the drought has properly broken (i.e. weeks of sustained rainfall) short heavy showers as have been experienced in some areas are enough to top up tanks and take pressure off point source reticulated water which may be under stress.
There is possibly an economic case in smaller communities for Council to fund a household tank(s) and filters rather than reticulating water supplies at great expense and with long delays. Council might also use its purchasing power to secure a lower price or even give a grant for households, existing dwellings or commercial premises wanting to ’retro-fit’ a tank.
With the likelihood of long dry summers becoming the ‘new normal’, action is required now to secure water supplies across the district.